Expert: Savisaar not medically fit to stand trial ({{commentsTotal}})

Edgar Savisaar in the courtroom at Harju County Court.
Edgar Savisaar in the courtroom at Harju County Court. Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

Despite the fact that the medical committee of the Estonian Forensic Science Institute (EKEI) recently declared Tallinn ex-mayor and former longtime Centre Party chairman Edgar Savisaar medically fit to stand trial, committee member and endocrinologist Vallo Volke believes the exact opposite to be true.

The medical assessment provided to ERR by Savisaar himself for publishing revealed that in Volke's opinion, Savisaar's participation in his trial could be life-threatening.

"Edgar Savisaar is not capable of standing trial, as this is a patient whose risk of a new cardiovascular attack or death is incredibly high," Volke stated.

According to Volke, no formal risk calculators exist to determine the absolute risk of such high-risk patients.

"In addition to regularly taking prescription medications, it is crucial to avoid psychological tension and stress," he said. "Stress-induced spikes in blood sugar levels and blood pressure are difficult if not impossible to prevent or control in a courtroom. Thus it is very likely that in the course of this trial, a new serious health problem or death could occur that would be caused at least in part due to trial-related stress."

Despite Volke's opinion, however, the expert committee remained of the overall opinion that should Savisaar continue to take his medications as prescribed as well as follow other doctor's orders, he is capable of adapting to everyday life, participating in the trial as well as, should he be found guilty, serving his sentence.

The committee found that by taking his medications as prescribed and following the prescribed diet, Savisaar is able to keep his blood pressure and blood sugar levels within the normal range.

Health has deteriorated

While the committee judged Savisaar's treatment plan as good, it can be seen in the assessment that his condition has nonetheless deteriorated significantly over the past year.

In the assessment, it is highlighted that compared to the results of the medical assessment conducted on Savisaar last year, his condition with regard to heart rhythm disorders has worsened significantly, and that his type 2 diabetes has progressed to the point that Volke found it disqualifies him from taking part in the trial any longer.

The committee admitted in conclusion that given the various severe illnesses with which Savisaar has been diagnosed, the risk exists that his condition can become unstable, but it is medically not possible to predict if, when and under what circumstances he may end up in a life-threatening condition which is why access to immediate medical care must be ensured during the hearing.

The committee found that in Savisaar's case, slow-onset memory and cognitive problems cannot be ruled out, but an additional neuropsychologial evaluation would be needed to determine the nature and extent of such problems.

Editor: Aili Vahtla



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