Doctor denies allegations by female complainant

Unumoe Esera

, Local

By Unumoe Esera

APIA: Thursday 05 July  2012: Physician,Obstetrician and Gynaecologist  Lemamea Dr. Emosi Puni who is charged for one count of indecent assault continued his evidence in the Supreme Court today.

Continuing from where he left off yesterday afternoon, he said once the speculum was in the vaginal canal , he used his left hand to lock the speculum in place. Dr. Puni said that was why he had asked her to move to the edge of the bed so that the speculum would not impede his view. He said once the speculum was in place it would continue to be in that position.

“I noticed that there was blood inside the vaginal canal, it was impeding my view,” said Dr. Puni.

He stated that the blood was situated in the upper part of the vagina.

“Having noticed the blood, what did you do?” asked Defense Counsel Belinda Sellars.

“I told the complainant that I was going to swab the blood (O le a ou tago e fufulu ese),” said Dr Puni.

The Defendant’s Counsel asked him to explain the purpose of what he wanted to do. He said the purpose was to remove the blood from inside the vaginal canal.

“When you told her you were going to swab the blood, did she say anything?” asked Sellars.

“No she did not. I did ask her if she was comfortable but there was no reply,” he said

After removing the blood, Dr. Puni then told her he was going to insert two of his fingers to examine her after the speculum was removed. He then placed the forcep in the sink  then stood up. He said  he made a mental note of the strings protruding out of the opening of the vagina from what he saw  and he did not notice anything else.

“I inserted two fingers from my right hand, the index and middle fingers. I was standing somewhere at her feet a foot or two away from the edge of the bed and her bottom,” he said.

The defendant said he then commenced with his internal examination pressing with his left hand while right hand pressing the side of the abdomen probing for areas of pain.

“I had also asked the complainant if she was uncomfortable and if she does feel uncomfortable or feel pain. She didn’t say anything,” said Dr. Puni.

He told the Court that after examining the uterus he moved to the left side, feeling for fallopian tubes and ovaries while fingers on the right hand were moving in  and up, left and down towards the bottom.

He described this motion as “exploring  or feeling for fallopian tubes and ovaries,  feeling for any pain or irregularities also feeling for upper interior front wall.”

He said while he was doing this the complainant all of sudden sat up. He said it had only been three or four minutes since he had done his examination.  He emphasized that his left hand  was at all times on the lower abdomen  as he said it would be pointless to remove it as the absence would not give him the information he was looking for. Throughout the whole process both his hands were gloved.

“Did at any time your fingers come completely out?” asked Defense Lawyer Sellars.

He replied that during the examination, his fingers did not come out once until it was over.

He was also questioned about his breathing. “I’m not conscious of my breathing at any time. When operating  or examining a patient I will make a sound…like mmmm indicating yes,” he said.

He said the sound he made was was to indicate that he had seen the IUD string. During the examination he said he didn’t find anything that was abnormal during the by manual but felt a slight pricking sensation.

“What was your conclusion of the (IUD) strings?” asked Sellars.

“I suspected it may be the strings causing the rigidity  causing the pricking sensation I was feeling.”

He was also asked whether there was anything unusual about the noises he makes.

“I’m not conscious of it,” he said.

“She (the complainant) felt you had sexual feelings at that point?” asked Sellars.

“There was definitely no sexual feelings at that time. I had no sexual feelings at any time,” the defendant responded.

He said just before the complainant sat up  he was on the verge of examining the vaginal wall and his mind was on the IUD strings.

“I was looking for abnormal pain, irritation for pain that might suggest an unruptured cyst  or unruptured ectopic pregnancy.”

The defendant said that when the complainant sat directly up,  his fingers of his right hand  were inside  the vagina  while the entire left hand was on her lower abdomen. He said at no time at all did he remove his left hand  from her abdomen.

“When she sat up I was taken back a little, almost simultaneously  removed fingers from her vagina and left hand from her abdomen.”

He said his two fingers were still extended on his left when he removed it to prevent them being stained from the tip of his right  fingers.  The examination light in the room was pushed slightly against the wall  out of his way. At that point the curtains were still closed  and there were no other lights in the room.

“When I stood up,  I then asked her what was the problem. I asked her if she would like me to continue the examination. Her answer was no. I said that it was alright. I then walked to the sink and removed the gloves and washed my hands.

“I told her to lift her legs while bringing the stirrups into the bed and walked over to the sink. I gave her paper towels to clean herself if she wants to and walked over and opened the windows.

“I told her its ok she can get off the bed  and showed her the step.  After opening the curtains,  it was full lighting in the room. A couple of minutes she sat on the seat next to the table,”

He said at that point, she appeared perfectly normal  and he didn’t see any sign of anxiety, sadness or anger she appeared to be the same person as she came in.

The cross examination of the defendant by the Prosecution followed before the re-examination by the Defense Counsel resumed late afternoon. Dr. Puni continues to take the stand tomorrow morning.

The complainant gave evidence via satellite during a video conference at Bluesky Samoa headquarters at Maluafou on Monday as she is now residing overseas.