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Sarbajit's condition deteriorates: Doctors

April 30, 2013 14:46 IST

Doctors treating Indian death row convict Sarbajit Singh, comatose in a Lahore hospital after a brutal assault last week, on Tuesday said his condition had deteriorated.

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

"In our latest investigation, there was no sign of improvement (in Sarabjit's condition). Rather, his condition further deteriorated," Shaukat said.

Sarabjit is in a special intensive care unit of the state-run JinnahHospital.

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 has demanded that Indian doctors should be called in to assist in his treatment. Dalbir made the demand after JinnahHospital's Medical Superintendent Ijaz Nisar briefed her and Sarabjit's wife and two daughters on his health on Monday.

Two officials of the Indian High Commission also visited JinnahHospital 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.

Sarabjit, 49, sustained several injuries, including a skull fracture, when six prisoners attacked him in Kot Lakhpat Jail on Friday. He was hit on the head with bricks and his neck and torso cut with sharp weapons.

He was convicted of alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Punjab province that killed 14 people in 1990. His mercy petitions were rejected by the courts and former President Pervez Musharraf.

The outgoing Pakistan People's Party-led government put off Sarabjit's execution for an indefinite period in 2008.

Sarabjit's family says he is the victim of mistaken identity and had inadvertently strayed across the border in an inebriated state.

M Zulqernain in Lahore
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