Coroner reveals causes of NIA’s Louis Gomez’s death


By Omar Bah A report of the coroner’s inquest has revealed that Pa Louis Gomez, former deputy head of the NIA, died of “pulmonary thromboembolism” (a sudden blockage in a lung artery) and “cardiomyopathy” (diseases which weaken the heart muscle and make pumping blood difficult). The report made public yesterday by the Office of the Chief Justice stated that the findings of the chief pathologist and two other physicians at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital all pointed to the causes for Mr Gomez’s death. Mr Gomez died on 11 October 2018 at the hospital while under remand at the Mile 2 Central Prisons and undergoing trial for murder. Following his death, Magistrate Malafi Jarju of Banjul was appointed by the chief justice as coroner to inquire into his death. In addition to the three doctors, prisons director Ansumana Manneh, prison medic Fanta Sanneh and two police officers, Alhagi K Manneh and Lamin Fatty gave evidence. In his evidence, physician Dr Armando Correa stated that on 16 October 2018, the body of a middle aged man was brought to the EFSTH mortuary and they notice an obese man who was dressed in jeans but they did not notice any external injury. “They opened the chest and inspected the thoracic organ and notice that there was a massive enlargement of the heart. They also notice that the heart chambers were dilated and the muscular walls of the heart were increased. They also noticed that the lungs were haemorrhaged and that the liver was increased,” he stated. Prison medic Sanneh explained that the deceased was a known cardiac and hypertensive patient and had been diagnosed with congestive cardiac failure. According to the report, “The testimony of Dr Elizabeth Sophie Ndow is that the situation of the deceased at the time of arrival at the hospital was dire. He had low oxygen saturation of only 43% where the normal oxygen saturation is between 93% to 100%. The fact that the deceased was already gasping for air indicated that she was dealing with absolute emergency.” The report also highlighted that the testimony of the director of prison’s highlighted that the cells were overcrowded and that the deceased was transferred to the security wing, adding that the reason for the High Court order for the deceased and his co-accused to be returned to the regular remand wing must have been for positive benefits and not for negative reasons. ß]]>