Sarabjit Singh's condition deteriorates, say Pak doctors

SarabjitSarabjit Singh's family. (IE Photo)

Doctors treating Indian death row convict Sarbajit Singh, comatose in a hospital here in Pakistan after a brutal assault, today said his condition has deteriorated though he had not been declared brain dead.

Allama Iqbal Medical College principal Mahmood Shaukat, the head of a four-member medical board this is supervising Sarabjit's treatment, confirmed that his condition had deteriorated.

"He continues to be serious but has not been declared brain dead," Shaukat told PTI. "In our latest investigation, there was no sign of improvement (in Sarabjits condition). Rather, his condition further deteriorated," he said.

Sarabjit is in a special intensive care unit of the state-run Jinnah Hospital. Shaukat said top neurosurgeons and physicians are providing Sarabjit the best treatment to save his life.

The doctors had changed some medications after the deterioration in his condition. A second CT scan on Sarabjit too did not reveal any signs of improvement, Shaukat said. "The Glasgow Coma Scale of the patient is being monitored on a daily basis," he added.

A source had earlier told PTI that Sarabjit's condition was measured as 5 on the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), which indicates the level of damage to a person's central nervous system.

The lowest possible GCS score is 3 while the highest is 15. The GCS assesses level of consciousness after a profound head injury and Sarabjit's reading indicated deep unconsciousness, making his treatment a major neurosurgical challenge for the medical board.

In a related development, Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur today demanded that Indian doctors should be called in to assist in his treatment. She made the demand after Jinnah Hospital's Medical Superintendent Ijaz Nisar briefed her and Sarabjit¿s wife and two daughters on his health yesterday.Kaur plans to return to India to seek advice on his treatment.

Two officials of the Indian High Commission also visited Jinnah Hospital yesterday and met members of the medical board to discuss Sarabjit's treatment. Meanwhile, the Punjab government has issued show cause notices to seven officials of Kot Lakhpat Jail, including Superintendent Mohsin Rafiq and Additional Superintendents Ishtiaq Ahmed Gill and Sawar Sumera, for failing to protect Sarabjit. Doctors treating Sarabjit had earlier said his chances of survival are "slim" as he had sustained injuries over a widespread area of his head.

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