Ghanaians want president's autopsy report made publicBy FRANCIS KOKUTSE in Accra | Wednesday, August 8 2012 at 17:46
As Ghana prepares for the Friday funeral ceremony of the late President John Atta Mills, questions are flying left, right and centre over the cause of his death
The media has been full of speculation about alleged mishandling and neglect of the former president by those who were taking care of him in his last days, with one newspaper, the Daily Guide claiming it has proof that that Atta Mills choked to death.
“There are strong indications that former President John Evans Atta Mills choked on his own blood after suffering a rupture of a major blood vessel when there was nobody by his side to render a helping hand or even engage medical assistance when the danger signs were manifesting,” the paper wrote.
It went on to say it had seen an autopsy report which confirmed the cause of death as throat cancer, an issue that has “been in the public domain for a long time yet disputed by the deceased’s handlers.”
“The immediate cause of death, however, has been attributed to the choking resulting from the ruptured blood vessel,” the paper said.
It wrote: “The autopsy report explained that the [cancerous] growth ruptured his carotid artery, a major blood vessel such that he bled profusely. And with no assistance at the time, he suffocated.”
President Mills died on July 24 and the matter of what caused his death has refused to go away.
Government sources say an autopsy on the body was done and the report given to the family. However, there is growing demand from various groups that the report be made public.
An Accra pressure group, the Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG), has issued a statement calling on the government to investigate circumstances surrounding the death of the late president.
“The cause of the sudden demise of President Mills should not be treated as a private or family matter since he was a public figure,” the statement read in part.
AFAG was responding to the chairman of the Funeral Planning Committee, Mr Kofi Totobi Quakyi, who had insisted that “a coroner’s inquest was not necessary in the case of the death of President Mills because he died at the 37 Military Hospital and in the competent hands of doctors.”
AFAG disagreed with Mr Quakyi’s views because it goes contrary to the country’s law which makes an inquest mandatory when a person dies outside hospital or within 24 hours of being brought to a hospital.
“The late President’s death falls within this (latter) category,” said the AFAG statement.
Mr Quakyi has dismissed the Daily Guide reports as “figments of someone’s imagination.”
He has also been forced to deny that the funeral casket cost $75,000. “I have done a search on the internet and not come across any casket that costs that amount,” he told a media briefing in Accra.
He stressed that the funeral was would be financed by private donations.
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