PAO gave ‘false conclusion’ linking Dengvaxia to deaths – pathologist
A pathologist refuted the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) forensic team’s autopsy findings which linked the deaths of some patients to the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine.
Dr. Raymundo Lo, a medical doctor who served as Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) deputy executive director for professional services, said some of PAO’s autopsy findings were “not supported by factual data.”
“To submit such a false conclusion and disseminate to the general public as a valid medical finding is not only reckless but a blatant violation of our oath as medical practitioners to do no harm,” said Lo, who said he had training in the US and the Philippines throughout his 30 years of experience in the profession and in conducting autopsies.
Lo testified Wednesday before the House committees on good government and public accountability and health which were investigating the Dengvaxia controversy.
Dr. Lo who?
Even before Lo could start his presentation, PAO Chief Persida Rueda-Acosta questioned his authority to cast doubt on the findings of the PAO forensic team.
“They (PAO’s) two most senior pathologists who conducted the autopsies are not here to refute whatever Dr. Lo, the resource person of which I do not know, who’s now saying, and what is his authority to interpret the forensic findings of the Public Attorney’s Office?” Rueda-Acosta said.
The head of PAO Forensic Laboratory, Dr. Erwin Erfe, also argued that Lo’s assessment was based only on clinical records, without examining the body of the victims.
But the joint committee allowed Lo to proceed after good government panel chair Rep. Xavier Romualdo stressed that the expert’s critiques were merely his opinion.
In his presentation, Lo claimed that some of PAO’s findings were not supported by factual data, including their conclusion that there were “hemorrhage in the heart” of some vaccinees. He explained, “blood is normally present in these heart spaces.”
The pathologist also noted that “there are many gross findings that may have different causes and should not be assigned to one disease process.” He said congestion, swelling, hemorrhage, and edema are all “nonspecific findings which cannot be assigned to one disease.”
A microscopic examination of the organs is also needed to determine causation, according to Lo.
“Dr. Erfe (of PAO) immediately told reporters right after his autopsy that the cause is Dengvaxia, even before the microscopic examination was even done,” Lo claimed.
Lo criticized the PAO’s conclusion that the deaths were “Dengvaxia-related when the findings are clearly the result of another disease process as supported by the established diagnoses and clinical course of the patient.”
“Their lack of training shows in the conduct of the ‘autopsies’ they performed on the cases involved,” he said.
“They did not state all the required elements of an autopsy report. Citing organomegaly in most of the reports, but no comparison with normal weights for age was done, as one example,” he noted. Organomegaly is “abnormal enlargement of organs.”
Earlier, Lo issued an affidavit as part of the response of former Health secretary Janette Garin to charges filed against her by the PAO about the death of nine victims who died after receiving Dengvaxia.
However, the Department of Justice panel investigating the charges denied admitting Lo’s affidavit for being submitted too late during the preliminary investigation stage. /cbb/ac
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.