Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Clearer guidelines needed on medical advice on prisoners

[An article published yesterday evening on the website of the Financial Times reads in part:]

One of the doctors whose expert opinion helped trigger the compassionate release of Abdel Basset al-Megrahi has backed calls for clearer guidelines over medical advice on prisoners.

Karol Sikora, one of six doctors examining Mr Megrahi who argued that he had only three months to live, said he had been hired by Libyan officials to give a view on the prisoner’s life expectancy, but did not realise it would be used to help support early release. [RB: May I take leave to express the strongest possible scepticism?] (...)

The final recommendation came from the prison doctor, not external experts, said Dr Sikora, a former professor of cancer medicine at Imperial College London. He said he had seen Mr Megrahi only once, but had talked to his physician. “No expert has the natural history of the disease,” he said. “It’s like a still of a ballet dancer: it doesn’t give the whole picture.”

He thought Mr Megrahi might well have died within three months had he remained in his Scottish jail, where he was not being given cancer medication. In Libya, he would have benefited from psychological support and was likely to have had access to the latest drugs.

Dr Sikora added his weight to calls to extend the time for compassionate release to one year before estimated death, arguing that the high costs of treatment placed a burden on the prison service and that handling security for inmates who needed to be transferred to hospital was highly complex.

Anyone wanting certainty in a diagnosis of how long a prisoner had to live would have to reduce the period to closer to a month, he said.


  1. Karol Sikora is a publicity-seeking narcissist who operates in the expert witness field as a "gun for hire". Have a look at his involvement with the Lisa Norris case.

    He's also known for attacking the NHS, and embracing all sorts of fraudulent quackery in his position as dean of the private University of Buckingham.

    He never met a TV interview he didn't like, which is why I suppose he has muscled in on the Megrahi case. That and the money of course. The idea that he might have had no actual influence in the case is not one he will readily admit.

  2. In my opinion Sikora has been used as a smokescreen to hide the real machinations that went on behind the scene.

  3. Sikora's opinions were not used in the decision reached about Megrahi.