Sunday, 4 July 2010

Megrahi’s doctors stop treatment

[I am grateful to a reader for drawing my attention to the following report in today's edition of Scotland's largest-circulation Sunday newspaper The Sunday Post. It should be contrasted with the article from earlier today that can be read here. The Post's story reads in part:]

Convicted Lockerbie bomber Abelbaset al-Megrahi is believed to be near death.

The news comes almost 11 months after he was freed by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill on compassionate grounds after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

At the time the Scottish Government said he was expected to die within three months. (...)

Reports from Libya claim Megrahi’s prostate cancer has spread to his kidneys, liver, pelvis and lymph nodes.

He’s understood to be bed-bound at home in Tripoli attached to a morphine drip for pain relief.

The date of Megrahi’s death could be politically significant.

Should he survive until August Megrahi would have been free for a year, after Mr MacAskill assured the world he had fewer than three months to live when releasing him.

This could put serious pressure on the Justice Secretary’s position.

Megrahi’s regular visits to hospital for treatment have now stopped. It’s claimed he’s no longer responding to chemotherapy. Doctors now say he’s expected to die within weeks.

The Scottish Government receives monthly reports on his condition and one is expected this week. It’s likely to confirm that treatment to fight the cancer has ended and Megrahi is receiving only palliative care. (...)

He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 27 years, but served just eight before being released on compassionate grounds by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill last August.

When first diagnosed with prostate cancer in autumn 2008 specialists said he was likely to survive 18 months to two years.

Following the Prisoner Transfer Agreement application made on Megrahi’s behalf in May 2009, he was examined by specialists who found his cancer had become “hormone resistant”.

A report from the Scottish Prison Service concluded, “The specialist view is that, in the absence of a good response to treatment, survival could be in the order of ‘months’, and no longer ‘many months’.

“Whether or not prognosis is more or less than three months, no specialist would be willing to say.”

Mr MacAskill’s decision split opinion, with the US government and many victims’ relatives opposed.

However, he received support from some UK relatives, including Dr Jim Swire whose daughter Flora was killed in the bombing, as well as former South African President Nelson Mandela.

[The full report can, for the time being, be accessed here.]

No comments:

Post a Comment