DAY after the body of a 21-year-old woman was found in the bathroom of her Mulund residence, hospital authorities said the possible cause of death could be suffocation. A gas geyser was used in the bathroom that heats up water using Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), said police.
The case has been referred to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) for further analysis. The local Mulund police has registered an Accidental Death Report (ADR) in the case and said it would wait for the final medical report before taking any action.
Nipi Gala, a resident of Padmavati Nagar in Mulund, had gone to Lonavla to celebrate the New Year’s Eve and returned home on Tuesday. In the evening, she had gone to take a bath when she was found unconscious by her grandmother and father, who broke open the bathroom door after realising that she had been inside for nearly an hour and did not respond to their calls. Gala was rushed to the local hospital where doctors declared her dead. The body was sent to Rajawadi hospital for post-mortem.
Gas geysers can cause intoxication, epilepsy attacks
A 2013 study in Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology studied effect of gas geysers on 26 patients between 2008 and 2010 in Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. It found that 13 people suffered carbon monoxide (CO) intoxication and 11 suffered epilepsy attacks. In CO intoxication, routine blood test was found to be normal, but CO quantity was found to be elevated. The study observed that incomplete combustion of LPG due to inadequate ventilation leads to accumulation of both, CO and nitrous oxide (N2O).
According to forensic experts in Rajawadi hospital, Gala’s body showed minor changes, indicating suffocation. “But her respiratory system was intact. And there was no physical damage visible. When there is suffocation, and oxygen supply is cut, the body undergoes certain changes that were visible during autopsy. But we cannot be fully sure,” the doctor said. Her blood and organ samples have been preserved for chemical analysis. The doctor added that because she had medical history of breathing problems, it is possible that she died due to suffocation.
A relative of the woman said she suffered from breathing problems. “Since the adjacent building is hardly a few feet away, the windows of the bathroom are kept shut. There is an exhaust fan in the bathroom, however, that too was found to be switched off. The bathroom had a gas geyser and it is possible that she may have died of suffocation,” the relative said.
Gas geysers are used for supply of hot water in bathrooms and kitchens. The abundant use is due to economical installation cost and no requirement of electricity. It can be fatal, as suspected in this case, due to existing breathing ailment the girl suffered.
Sripad Kale, senior inspector of Mulund police station, said: “She had gone to a party the previous day and was exhausted. The circumstances point to it being death due to suffocation. Since her father and grandmother came home only an hour later and broke upon the door, it may have been too late. We will, however, be waiting for the histopathology report to come to any conclusion.”