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Dangerous assumption, says coroner

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By Nicole Chang and Trinity Chua

The coroner’s inquiry into the death of national service man Ganesh Pillay resumed after the lunch break on Thursday with the medical officer at the Khatib camp saying he did not inform the recruit’s superior about his condition.

“He came in for chest pains… when I reviewed his records I noticed he had a history of schizophrenia for which he was seeing a psychiatrist,” said Dr Mogilan Mogan.

He said he did not inform Ganesh’s superior, Captain Jessie Goh about the situation. Captain Goh was Ganesh’s manpower officer.

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When asked why he did not inform Ganesh’s unit officer, Dr Mogilan said: “S1 (the manpower officer, Goh) should have been ‘handed over’ (about) this case when the person (was) newly posted to Khatib camp, as well as the relevant excuses, for example in this case excuses from firearms, that the patient has already been given previously.

“It is actually in the interest of the S1 to find out why this person has this grading.”

Dr Mogilan said, “My usual practice, when I would get in touch with the unit is when there is a change in the person’s functioning, or when there are new problems to address.”

He also acknowledged that he could not be certain whether Captain Goh would have had access to the reasons for Ganesh’s condition.

“I’m not sure what system they are using because they don’t have access to the same records as us, the same system that the medical officers have.”

He said that he did not tell Captain Goh about the drugs that Ganesh was on or the side effects of these drugs when the two finally spoke about Ganesh’s psychiatric condition on July 4, a day before Ganesh was found dead at his family’s apartment block.

The State Coroner Imran Abdul Hamid then said: “The problem I have is you did not know if Captain Jessie knew (about Ganesh’s psychiatric illness)… That is a very dangerous assumption.” The inquiry continues on April 8.

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