The death of 22-year-old Tabrez Ansari, days after he was attacked by a mob that accused him of theft in Jharkhand, was “in all possibility” caused by a brain haemorrhage triggered by a head injury that was not detected by the doctor on duty at a local hospital, the team that conducted the post-mortem told The Indian Express.
Ansari, who was in judicial custody after the attack in Saraikela-Kharsawan district on June 18 during which the mob allegedly forced him to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Hanuman”, died last Saturday after he complained of nausea, vomitting and chest pain, and fell unconscious.
“There was an injury on the right frontoparietal region, which was left undetected by the doctor at the Sadar Hospital who was on night shift and treated Ansari (who was brought in at 7 am on June 18 after the attack). There is a possibility that this led to effusion or oozing of blood from the skull leading to haemorrhage. This could be a possible cause of death,” said Dr Bariyal Mari, Deputy Superintendent, Sadar Hospital.
Mari is a member of the three-member board, including medical officers Dr Anirban Mahto and Dr V D P Singh of Sadar Hospital, which conducted the post-mortem on June 22.
Mahto said the “right frontoparietal region covers the area on the skull, which is around three centimetres above the tip of the ear till the beginning of the forehead”. Mari, however, said the board has “reserved” its final opinion on the post-mortem, and would confirm the cause of death only after it received results of forensic tests on the viscera to “check for any chemical imbalance”.
“During crush injuries like this, there are some chemical changes in the body and we usually advise various tests to check if the body had gone into shock. The forensics lab will ascertain whether there was chemical imbalance in the body, which could have also led to the death. Even this investigation was not ordered by the doctor who treated the patient that day,” he said. “But in all possibility, the death is due to the head injury,” Mari said.
The Deputy Superintendent said that although there were “lapses” by the doctor on duty, whom he identified as O P Kesri, “the patient never complained of pain on the skull even when there was a visible head injury”. “But Kesri should have been more proactive,” Mari said. Kesri was not available for comment despite repeated attempts by The Indian Express.
In its port-mortem report, the board said the injuries were caused by the impact of a “blunt object with force”. Apart from the head injury, the report points to external injuries “on the right leg” and “multiple green-coloured bruises at the back”.
The report also mentions a “nose discharge”, which the doctors say was “due to vomitting”. Referring to an examination of the skull, the report lists the internal injury: “haemorrhage… in the right frontoparietal region”.
CCTV footage of Sadar Hospital from June 18 shows Ansari limping as he is brought in. He was later taken to the district court, which remanded him in judicial custody. That evening, he was brought back to the hospital.
“An X-ray was taken since he was limping, but there was no knee fracture. Even then, he did not complain of any pain in his head. So the doctor gave a ‘fit to travel’ certificate after which he was taken to jail,” said Mari.
On the evening of June 21, Ansari complained of nausea, vomitting and chest pain. “The jail doctor was on leave, and the doctor who treated him the first time rushed to the jail and gave him medicines. Again, this should have led to the alarm being raised,” Mari said. Sadar Hospital Civil Surgeon A N Dey said that on the morning of June 22, he was informed by jail authorities that Ansari had complained of “dizziness” and “washed his face with cold water” after returning from the toilet.
Then, jail officials told him, Ansari lay down before falling unconscious. That was when police rushed him back to the Sadar Hospital. Hours later, he was declared dead.