How Sick Is The Lockerbie Bomber, Abdel Baset Al-Megrahi?

Aug 7th, 2010 | By healthnews | Category: Health

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Main Category: Prostate / Prostate Cancer
Also Included In: Urology / Nephrology;  Cancer / Oncology
Article Date: 06 Aug 2010 – 10:00 PDT

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Abdel Baset Al-Megrahi, the only Lockerbie bomber convicted of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that killed 270 people, was freed on compassionate grounds a year ago because he was supposedly on the brink of death with terminal prostate cancer – he was not expected to survive for more than three months.

In 2009, Al-Megrahi said in a meeting with Scottish Justice Minister that the medical personnel agreed he had little chance of surviving into the following year. It has now been a year since he said that and he is still around. An article in The Wall Street Journal today reveals that there was no consensus at the time regarding Mr. Megrahi’s imminent death.

A year ago, Dr. Andrew Fraser, Scotland’s prison health service administrator, wrote a report stating that the patient’s prostate cancer was advanced and had spread (metastasis) when diagnosed in 2008. However, evidence that two urologists and two oncologists agreed with Mr. Megrahi’s 3-month prognosis (3 months of life left) is lacking, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Dr. Fraser’s report appears to be the only medical basis for freeing the patient on compassionate grounds on August 20th, 2009.

Megrahi’s release caused indignation in the USA and the UK, and many other parts of the world. How could a prognosis, apparently made by just one doctor, which was obviously completely wrong (otherwise the man would be dead by now), have been allowed to have been the whole basis for the man’s release? Apparently, the two urologists were not consulted as the report was prepared – and they were definitely not asked what their prognosis might be. The report also mentioned the patient’s “lack of symptoms” for end-stage prostate cancer.

There is another inconsistency leading up to Megrahi’s release:

  • Megrahi was not expected to survive more than three months.
  • Megrahi said he expected to start a course of chemotherapy.

A patient who starts chemotherapy at Megrahi’s stage of prostate cancer is expected to live over one-and-a-half years.

Megrahi was resistant to hormone therapy, the report said. A patient in Megrahi’s situation who was given a three months’ prognosis would have completed a failed chemotherapy course; one would not be talking about starting a future course of chemo. Placing a patient at Megrahi’s stage of prostate cancer who is expected to survive no more than three months on chemo is bizarre.

According to a BBC report today, one of the oncologists, Prof. Karol Sikora, who examined Megrahi, said the patient could not have faked his illness. Libyan officials had asked Sikora to give a medical opinion on Megrahi’s health before his release. He said to the BBC:

You take into account the type of cancer he had, and the X-ray evidence that it had spread. The blood test for PSA (prostate specific antigen) was rising – everything pointed towards the fact that he had end-stage disease.

US Senator, Robert Menendez, head of a Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee that is investigating the circumstances behind Megrahi’s release, would like to see all the relevant medical documents released.

In a letter recently sent to the Scottish First Secretary Alex Salmond, Menendez wrote:

One of your stated reasons for not participating in our hearing process is that you judge that the inquiry by the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee was sufficient. In reviewing the documents available from your inquiry in the absence of direct testimony, it seems that the inquiry was quite limited..

In declining requests for Scottish officials to testify at the July 29 US Senate hearing, Scottish First Secretary Alex Salmond wrote that the “Scottish Government would also be happy to answer, formally and in writing, any additional questions that may arise around the hearing.” To that end, the senators plan to follow up with a series of letters asking specific questions.

Written by Christian Nordqvist

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