Pathologist tells Coroner Vespers had smoky substance in her respiratory track

A FORENSIC pathologist based at the University Teaching Hospital but employed under the Ministry of Home Affairs has testified that Vespers Shimunzhila, a fourth year University of Zambia student who died during a riot at the institution in October last year, had smoky substances in the respiratory track.

Pathologist Dr Tadjaimurat Musakhanov told Coroner Sylvia Munyinya, who is hearing the inquest at the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court yesterday, that Vesper’s body was intact with no injuries when he conducted an examination on it.

However, the pathologist said his findings were that the cause of death was asificiation (obstruction in the respiratory system) as she was unable to breath.

Dr Musakhanov, 78 said he noticed a dark fluid in the nose and tongue (darkly red sud deposit) which contained carbon monoxide.

He said this was due to the smoky substances that were found in her respiratory track.

The pathologist said on October 7, 2018, whilst he was on duty at UTH mortuary, he received an order from the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court to conduct a post-mortem.

He said he conducted the post-mortem on the body of Vespers, who died on October 5, 2018 and the body was identified by her uncle.

The pathologist said he conducted both external and internal examination of the body.

Dr Musakhanov said that he noticed, during external examination, that dark fluid was coming out from both the nose and mouth while the body was intact with no injuries.

He observed that the tongue and respiratory track were covered with smoke like stuff.

The pathologist also told the coroner that he also observed that the trachea was blocked .

Dr Musakhanov said he took two blood samples, a swab and another from Vespers which he took for further examination but results indicated that there was no evidence of toxic substance or alcohol.

He said although he established that one of Vespers ovaries was not okay and that there were minor head injuries, the same could not have caused her death.

Dr Musakhanov said he did not discover any other cause of Vespers’ death.

Coroner Munyinya adjourned the inquest to April 3, 2019.

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