The 50-year-old man who was found alive after having been sent to the mortuary of civic-run Sion hospital Monday passed away in the intensive care unit late Tuesday night. Doctors said Prakash had been in a delirious state with no metabolic activity for more than 24 hours. Police said his autopsy report would come Wednesday.
Two separate probes have been, meanwhile, ordered into how the man was declared dead and wheeled into the mortuary while he was still alive. While one probe will be headed by a department head at Sion hospital, a parallel probe is now being conducted by Sion police to investigate whether police officers were at fault.
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Monday afternoon, Prakash was spotted unconscious near a bus stop in Sion and rushed to the hospital by the police. The on-duty casualty medical officer (CMO) declared him “brought dead” after a reportedly “swift” check-up and noted that “the pupils were fixed and dilated” and “there was no pulse”.
Prakash was taken to the mortuary for a post-mortem when an attendant noticed him breathing and alerted authorities. A cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was immediately administered by doctors for 15 minutes to revive the patient, following which he was taken to the intensive care unit (ICU).
On Tuesday morning, a doctor said Prakash was in a “delirious state” but stable, and had not been able to identify his home or himself. He was suffering from metabolic dysfunction and had not eaten anything since being admitted to the hospital.
According to hospital dean Dr Suleman Merchant, “He had to be transferred to MICU. We gave him antibiotics and hydration but remained hypotensive. Two blood units were transfused…”
He said an inquiry was under way to check why due procedures were not followed in declaring the man dead. “I admit my doctor has not followed all procedures but he is new at the job and the police were in a hurry to finish formalities. They brought the man claiming he is dead and did not give enough time to even admit the patient. The doctor was pressurised,” he said.
Yeshudas Gorde, senior police officer at the Sion police station, had said earlier in the day an inquiry to locate Prakash’s family was on. “We are also investigating the hospital’s claims that the police officers were forcing for a quick declaration of death. The man is still unconscious and we will record his statement once he is able to talk,” he said.
According to Merchant, Prakash was brought to the hospital with both ears and body parts infested with maggots, which indicated a decomposing condition. It takes at least three days for maggots to start infesting in a person in a fixed position.
He said Prakash’s heart and respiratory functions were not working either “His liver is damaged and he is an alcoholic. We suspect that he was involved in substance abuse which can sometimes lead to clinically dead conditions,” he said.
According to the CMO’s statement to the dean’s office, police officers had to hurry to report for bandobast for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s event, due to which they asked him to send the body directly for post-mortem Monday. Ideally, a patient suspected to be “brought dead” is supposed to be kept under observation for two hours.
“During cooling period, pulse has to be checked and an electrocardiogram needs to be conducted to verify heart activity. Only after two hours can a person be declared dead and sent for autopsy,” a forensic doctor said. An instruction has now been issued within the hospital to ensure compulsory observance of “cooling period for a patient before declaring him dead”.