Man found alive in mortuary freezer dies

Mr Srikesh Kumar, who was kept in a mortuary freezer in Uttar Pradesh for more than seven hours after being presumed dead and later slipped into a coma, has died.

The 40-year-old breathed his last on Tuesday at the Lala Lajpat Rai Memorial (LLRM) Medical College Hospital in Meerut where he had been admitted a day earlier.

He did not survive despite being given ventilator support and the best treatment.

"My brother fought for his life but lost the battle after five days," said his elder sibling Satyanand Gautam, a dentist. "He wanted to live.

"He showed signs of recovery as he used to respond whenever we called his name. His vitals were normal. However, he had a clot in his brain. We will take action against everyone responsible for his death."

Mr Kumar, an electrician, was hit by a speeding motorbike on Nov 18 in Moradabad, a city in Uttar Pradesh, following which he was taken to a private hospital for treatment. The doctors there said he had suffered an internal head injury and referred him to a government hospital.

When his relatives next took him to the district hospital, the doctor on duty pronounced him dead.

Mr Kumar was then placed in the hospital's mortuary freezer before a post-mortem could be done the next day.

But, nearly seven hours later, when a document authorising the autopsy was to be signed by family members, Mr Kumar's sister-in-law Madhu Bala noticed that he was moving.

In a video that went viral, Ms Bala can be heard saying: "He is not dead. How did this happen? Look, he wants to say something, he is breathing."

Mr Kumar was then found alive and taken to Meerut for advanced treatment where hospital superintendent B. Rajendra Kumar said his recovery was "nothing short of a miracle".

On Monday, LLRM Medical College's principal R.C. Gupta said: "Srikesh Kumar has developed a blood clot in his brain and may require surgery.

"The condition of the patient is still critical and he is on ventilator support. We have put him under conservative treatment at the moment as it is not safe to operate because of a bleeding disorder."

Mr Gautam also said: "When we call his name, he responds, which is a positive sign that shows that some part of his brain is still responding.

"The only problem is that he is having high fever and there is always the risk of an external infection as the body's immunity is low. Therefore, heavy antibiotics are being given to him."

The family had hoped that Mr Kumar would recover from the coma over time. But he died on Tuesday night.

Ms Bala told reporters later: "We will lodge a complaint against the doctors for negligence as they almost killed Srikesh by putting him in a freezer."

Moradabad district hospital health chief Dr Shiv Singh said that a probe has been ordered.

"The emergency medical officer had seen the patient at 3am and there was no heartbeat. He had examined the man multiple times.

"Thereafter, he was declared dead but, in the morning, a police team and his family found him alive. A probe has been ordered."

He described the incident as one of those "rarest of rare cases". "We can't call it negligence," he said.

Dr Singh said it was possibly a case of "suspended animation", where there is a temporary cessation of many vital organs without death, which could lead to an extraordinary situation like that experienced by Mr Kumar.

Indo-Asian News Service

"The emergency medical officer had seen the patient at 3am and there was no heartbeat. He had examined the man multiple times.

Thereafter, he was declared dead but, in the morning, a police team and his family found him alive. A probe has been ordered."

- Dr Shiv Singh, Moradabad district hospital health chief

 
 
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