A day after Saravanan*, a 19-year-old with HIV infection died at the Madurai Government Rajaji hospital, his mother has knocked the doors of the court requesting a probe into his death. Saravanan tried to kill himself on December 26, after he came to know that the HIV blood he donated was transfused to a pregnant woman who also got infected by the virus.
His mother Santhi*, on Monday, approached the Madurai bench of Madras High court with a writ petition stating that she did not have faith in the doctors in Madurai Government Rajaji hospital and hence sought orders to ensure that her sonâ€™s autopsy was conducted by doctors from other government hospitals. She also wants the autopsy fully recorded on video.
It was Saravanan who had intimated the blood bank authorities that he was HIV positive and that he had donated blood a few days back without knowing about his infection. After he informed the blood bank, the officials called the pregnant woman back and tested her blood, which turned out to be infected as well.
Sudden death suspicious
Santhi has stated in her petition that her son had been recovering well after three days of treatment in the hospital and that he was able to walk to the restroom without needing anybodyâ€™s help.
â€śâ€¦after 3 days of treatment to my son was back to his normal condition and there was no warning of any danger to his life provided to me either by the nurses attending in the said ward or the duty doctors or even the Dean of the hospital who also visited my son and met my husband and myself,â€ť read the petition. She then added that on December 30, her son complained of pain in his private parts and he was attended to by three doctors and a nurse, who gave him IV and also administered an injection to him, details of which, the doctors did not disclose to her or her husband. She also alleged that this injection made her son sick again and caused his death.
â€śWhen I asked the doctor why they were administering an injection, I was told that I should keep quiet as they were doing what had to be done. No explanation was ever provided to me that my sonâ€™s health condition was serious. As we were around the bed after the injection my son clasped his hands firmly together and started vomiting blood and his eyes were looking firmly ahead and in a few minutes he died,â€ť claims the petition.
Discrepancies in time of death
In her writ petition, Santhi also alleged that Saravanan died at around 7 am but the Dean announced to the media that he had died at 8.10 am which made the family anxious. She also claimed that the doctors did not allow the two of them to see Saravananâ€™s body properly before taking it to the morgue.
Crucial witness in Sattur HIV+ blood transfusion case
Expressing doubt over his death, Santhi stated that since Saravanan was a crucial witness in the case of HIV infected blood transfused to a pregnant lady in Sattur. She alleged that she suspects if the doctors were negligent in treating her son in the Madurai hospital.
â€śI am having high doubts in the attitude of the doctors attached to the Government Rajaji Hospital and therefore some other senior Forensic doctors' presence is needed to know the truth in conducting post-mortem,â€ť the petition stated.
She added that the District Collector of Ramanathapuram was not informed of Saravananâ€™s death till 4.38 pm on Sunday even though this was a sensitive case.
â€śWe are further informed that the authorities of Peopleâ€™s Watch also informed the District Collector of Ramanathapuram on his official mobile and he was also equally shocked to hear about the death of Ramesh since he was on an official camp visit in Rameshwaram. He stated that he had not been officially informed about the death of my son Ramesh till about 16.38 when this was told to him. We were very surprised to note that even the District Collector of Ramanathapuram had not been informed about the death of Ramesh in such a sensitive death. The District Collector had also assured the authorities of Peopleâ€™s Watch that he would agree to the post-mortem being carried out by a team of doctors, two of whom should be from other teaching hospitals,â€ť stated the petition.
Explaining that the behaviour by the hospital authorities in her sonâ€™s death was suspicious, Santhi requested the court to order for the post-mortem of her sonâ€™s body by two senior professors from other government teaching hospitals and also to video graph the entire process.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the persons