Senators Request Release of Lockerbie Bomber's Medical Records

Senators Request Release of Lockerbie Bomber's Medical Records

Menendez, Gillibrand, Lautenberg and Schumer also write to Scottish government for list of al-Megrahi’s doctors

Washington - Amid growing questions about the medical prognosis given to Pan Am Flight 103 bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi that allowed his release from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds, U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) today requested the disclosure of al-Megrahi's full medical records. In a letter to Scottish First Secretary Alex Salmond, the senators asked the Scottish government to provide the full medical information or to request al-Megrahi's permission to release the information, if such permission is necessary. In addition, the senators asked the Scottish government for the names, medical training and specializations of the doctors who examined al-Megrahi.

"We understand that an extensive medical record was used as the basis of the decision to release Mr. al-Megrahi, but only one three-page medical document with redactions has been released by the Scottish government," wrote the senators. "Independent examination of Mr. al-Megrahi's complete medical record is necessary in order to understand the circumstances surrounding his compassionate release. As you know, this matter is of the utmost importance to many Americans, especially the families of the 189 American victims aboard Pam Am Flight 103.

"A more complete medical record may help us understand exactly what Mr. al-Megrahi's treatment options were and thereby help clarify questions about his prognosis."

In releasing al-Megrahi from prison nearly one year ago, Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill cited a medical prognosis that terminal prostate cancer had left al-Megrahi with three months to live. However, information subsequently released by the Scottish government implies that a team of medical specialists never agreed to that prognosis. Recent news reports have suggested that the prognosis may have been based on the opinion of a single primary care doctor at the Greenrock prison where al-Megrahi was kept.

Menendez is leading an investigation into the release of al-Megrahi and will chair a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the matter.

PDF of letter to Salmond: http://menendez.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/20100810ltr_alMegrahimedical.pdf

Text of letter:

August 10, 2010


Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP
First Minister of Scotland
St Andrew's House, Regent Road, Edinburgh EH13DG
T: 0845 7741741

Dear First Minister Salmond,

We have received your responses to our previous letters and appreciate your willingness to answer additional questions. Based on new reports that have raised such additional questions, we are writing today to ask for the release of all medical documentation for Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi while under Scottish care and after. We are hopeful you will be able to help and look for your assistance in fulfilling this important request.

We understand that an extensive medical record was used as the basis of the decision to release Mr. al-Megrahi, but only one three-page medical document with redactions has been released by the Scottish government. Independent examination of Mr. al-Megrahi's complete medical record is necessary in order to understand the circumstances surrounding his compassionate release. As you know, this matter is of the utmost importance to many Americans, especially the families of the 189 American victims aboard Pam Am Flight 103.

If permission from Mr. al-Megrahi is required for the Scottish government to release personal medical documents, we respectfully ask that the Scottish government request his permission to release these records and the monthly updates on his condition that he provides Scottish authorities.

In addition, we request that the Scottish government release the full names, medical training and specialization of all of the doctors who examined Mr. al-Megrahi, as well as the details about each doctor's role in the final medical assessment. Without full information about the medical specialists involved in the decision, it is impossible to evaluate and understand the basis for the compassionate release decision.

It is clear that there was no consensus among specialists treating al-Megrahi's prostate cancer that he had only three months to live.[1] The medical progress report from August 10, 2009[2] reveals that "whether or not prognosis is more or less than 3 months, no specialist 'would be willing to say.'" The lack of consensus and clarity from any of the specialists involved is very troubling, especially the lack of confidence on the part of the treating oncologist, who was the most qualified to assess the worsening of Mr. al-Megrahi's condition.

In Mr. al-Megrahi's compassionate release application in July 2009,[3] under the section "Treatment," he reported that he had recently consulted with an oncologist about undertaking a course of palliative chemotherapy. However, the official Scottish medical summary has no reference to chemotherapy. A more complete medical record may help us understand exactly what Mr. al-Megrahi's treatment options were and thereby help clarify questions about his prognosis.

Thank you again for your cooperation and your ongoing assistance on this vitally important matter.


Sincerely,

ROBERT MENENDEZ
KIRSTEN E. GILLIBRAND
FRANK R. LAUTENBERG
CHARLES SCHUMERUnited States Senators

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