Medical experts say that efforts to revive Constable Subhash Chand Tomar could have inadvertently caused his injuries, which have been cited by the police as evidence that Tomar was beaten up by protesters on Sunday.

The experts say that the injuries, which have been described in the post-mortem report, are possible while administering cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to revive a patient whose heart has stopped beating or who stops breathing. “The universally recommended ratio of chest compression and mouth-to-mouth ventilation is 30:2. While compressing, the chest is manually pressed in quick successions to move blood out of the heart and if the patient is not breathing, artificial respiration is given after each round of 30 compressions. During the process, the pressure so exerted compresses the chest by almost two inches and this may fracture the ribs,” said a doctor with a reputed government hospital.

“Television footage shows that those attending to the constable, including the other policemen, at the spot were not trained in CPR. They just unbuttoned his jacket, uniform and shoes and were massaging his palms. Also, it appears that initially there was no ambulance with trained medicos on board to attend to the constable at the spot immediately,” said an expert, adding that CPR at such stages could be life-saving.

According to the police, the post-mortem report has revealed that Constable Tomar had fractured his third, fourth and fifth ribs on the left side. They said the constable had sustained internal injuries in the neck, chest and stomach, whereas Lohia Hospital doctors told the media that when brought to hospital, he had no major external injury nor was any major internal injury recorded during his treatment.

“People ultimately die because of heart attack and non-functioning of brain. Heart attack is a clinical phenomenon wherein the heart stops functioning. However, myocardial infarction (as mentioned in the post-mortem report released by the police on Wednesday) may be a cause of death. Multiple injuries may precipitate myocardial infarction and its complications,” said another medical expert.

While CPR can be given by any trained person at or outside hospital, the patient can also be administered Direct Current shock using an automated external defibrillator that monitors the heart rhythm and releases an electric shock to the heart in an attempt to revive the normal heart beat. It is learnt that over 1,600 Delhi Police personnel have recently undergone training in CPR and experts suggested that all those deployed with Police Control Room vehicles should be trained in CPR for an effective response to any emergency. “The video footage showing the constable lying on the road in an unconscious state reveals that two policemen standing close to him merely watched the others attempting to revive him. Things may have been different, if they knew how to administer CPR,” the expert added.

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