In an incident that once again highlights the lack of a support system for ailing senior citizens in the city, an 83-year-old man was found unconscious next to the decomposing body of his son in Sholinganallur.

According to the police, the paralysed octogenarian’s son is believed to have died three or four days ago. Unable to reach out for help, Purushothaman lay there, and later, lost consciousness after inhaling the fumes emanating from the corpse.

On Friday, it was the stench that attracted the attention of Purushothaman’s tenants, who live on the ground floor of the house on Village High Road.

According to the Semmenchery police, Purushothaman lived with his son, Mahendran (35), an alcoholic, who did minor autorickshaw repair work. He had rented out their house to a private security agency that used the facility as accommodation for its security guards. Purushothaman and Mahendran stayed in a makeshift thatched hut on the terrace of the house.

Purushothaman has three other sons and a daughter, all of who are married and live elsewhere.

Four days ago, Mahendran consumed alcohol in the house and is suspected to have suffered a heart attack and died. A bedridden Purushothaman, who also suffers from poor eyesight, could not do much. His faint cries for help were not heard by the ground-floor tenants or other neighbours who stayed many metres away.

Later, he lost consciousness after inhaling the fumes originating from the decomposing body.

“Around 6 p.m. on Friday, alerted by the stench, one of the tenants went up to the check on the old man and found the decomposed body. Purushothaman lay motionless on the floor next to it. The old man was rescued and the body was sent for post-mortem,” said an investigating officer.

Purushothaman was admitted to a private hospital nearby and his condition is said to be stable. The Semmenchery police have registered a case of unnatural death and are probing further.

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