Saturday, November 17, 2012

Burn unit physician testifies on details of Sheri Sangji's death

From the Westwood-Century City Patch comes a dispatch on today's preliminary hearing on the evidence against Professor Patrick Harran. The medical details of Ms. Sangji's death are quite graphic:
...Dr. Peter H. Grossman told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa B. Lench that it initially appeared that 45 percent of Sheharbano "Sheri" Sangji's "total body surface area" had been burned, but the amount was later increased to 48.5 percent...
[snip] The doctor said the young woman told him after being transferred from UCLA Medical Center to the Grossman Burn Center at Sherman Oaks Hospital that a chemical she was working with spilled and ignited, resulting in her clothing catching on fire. 
In graphic testimony, the doctor described Sangji as "having quite a bit of pain," with second- and third-degree burns on various portions of her body, including her neck, hands, breasts, abdomen and lower extremities. She underwent a number of procedures, including the removal of "non-viable tissue" and the placement of cadaver skin on her wounds during her hospitalization, he testified.
The prosecution introduced 20 photos—shown on a large courtroom screen—of Sangji's injuries. "Her overall condition was worsening and she was becoming septic," Grossman said of the process of the blood system becoming infected with bacteria. 
Grossman noted that Sangji's heart stopped during one surgical procedure and doctors were able to get her back to the hospital's intensive care unit in critical condition. She was eventually declared brain dead and taken off life support Jan. 16, 2009, he testified. 
On cross-examination by defense attorney Thomas P. O'Brien, the doctor said he was "surprised, quite surprised that she ended up going through the course she did" and he had believed that she was going to make it out of the hospital alive.
I don't really have much to add to this (apart from horror), other than that I finally have the answer to my questions about what caused her death.

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