Kelly Thomas comatose with multiple organ failure caused by beating when hospitalized

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Good morning:

The LA Times is reporting that,

Kelly Thomas arrived at the hospital comatose, with multi-organ failure, multiple fractures to his face and ribs and signs of having suffered respiratory and cardiac arrest, the trauma surgeon who treated him testified Tuesday.

Dr. Michael Lekawa, chief of trauma surgery at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, was on duty the night of July 5, 2011, when Thomas arrived at the hospital after a confrontation with Fullerton police. He died five days later.


The cause of Thomas’ death, Lekawa said, was inadequate oxygen to his brain. During the confrontation with police, “various persons were on [Thomas] and holding him down … preventing him from breathing,” Lekawa said.

“He was doing everything he could to breathe but becoming less and less mentally with it to do what he could to breathe,” he said.
Ultimately, Thomas stopped breathing, which caused his heart to stop, leading to “irreversible brain damage,” he said.

Dr. Lekawa’s testimony illustrates the importance of calling a trauma surgeon to testify regarding cause of death. Medical examiners, who are trained as pathologists, can cover the basics in most homicides, but certainly not all of them, especially when there are potentially competing causes of death.

The testimony of a trauma surgeon was absolutely necessary in Trayvon Martin’s case to testify about the nature and extent of Zimmerman’s claimed injuries.

Perhaps more than any other failure, the prosecution’s failure to call a trauma surgeon, doomed its chances to convict Zimmerman because it opened the door to a host of defense questions for pathologists beginning with, “It’s possible that (fill in the blank). Anything is theoretically possible and pathologists are not qualified to answer those questions because they are not experts in attempting to save the living from dying. Such questions are outside their area of expertise and they should never express opinions in matters beyond their area of expertise.

Fortunately, the prosecution did not make that mistake in Kelly’s case.


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14 Responses to Kelly Thomas comatose with multiple organ failure caused by beating when hospitalized

  1. gblock says:

    One difference between the two cases, though, is that Kelly Thomas was actually treated by a trauma surgeon after the beating. In the Trayvon Martin shooting case, neither of them was treated by a trauma surgeon after the shooting.

    • The prosecution could have and should have called a trauma surgeon to testify about GZ’s insignificant injuries. The prosecution was incompetent not to have done that.

      • MDH says:

        A trauma surgeon would also have expert input into the defensive wounds one would expect to see by combatant’s involved in what was accepted to be an MMA style beat down.

        The ER gets a steady stream of people who have been in violent fights.

        For example, the puncher due to the adrenaline rush will turn his knuckles into chopped liver after several blows.

        Then there would be the farcical claim that TM could talk, stand up, and refold his arms after receiving a heart shredding wound.

        The prosecution just sat on the crap they already had, made sweet BS talk to the Martin’s, and did NOTHING to make that case stronger in the year they had to prepare.

  2. Kelly Payne says:

    The prosecution in trayvon’s case was not interested in a conviction. Despite the fact the evidence completely refuted his ridiculous claims. The Kelly Thomas case the prosecution seems to be fighting hard to put those cops away.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      I agree, but how could prosecution make a fatal mistake like this?And what good is our justice system at all if you can watch two cops bully and murder someone on tape and that’s not enough proof of a crime?

      I am sickened by this country and it’s so-called justice. Hopefully there will be many strong moments for the prosecution as the case progresses.

      And there’s always the long arm of karma and Spirit that grinds slowly and inexorably when the justice system fails.

    • Lyn says:

      Bernie and gang should be arrested for impersonating prosecutors.

  3. shyloh says:

    I actually got sick while looking at Kelly’s photos. That was OVER KILL in my opinion. COPS now days scare the hell out of me. It’s sad when you can’t trust the one’s that are suppose to up hold the law. They feel as if they are above the law. It still sickens me.

  4. O/T: Don’t forget to check on the noon rally at the Georgia Statehouse for Kendrick Johnson today.

  5. Malisha says:

    In the Fogen case, Perhaps more than any other failure, the prosecution’s biggest error was working hard for the defense.

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