Those who had gathered at the Khuddus Saheb cemetery on Friday had the shock of their life when a 40-year-old woman, who was declared dead, started breathing minutes before the last rites.
The woman, Yasmin Banu, was rushed to a private hospital where doctors performed a surgery for a blood clot in her brain on Sunday. She is now recovering. It later emerged that the incident could have been the result of ‘miscommunication’.
Syed Moinuddin, her brother, told The Hindu that Ms. Banu fainted in her house on January 17. He rushed her to a reputed government hospital, where the doctor, after examination, suggested immediate surgery, but refused to treat her citing lack of beds. Based on the advice of the ambulance driver, Mr. Moinuddin shifted her to a private hospital on January 18.
He arranged for ₹1.3 lakh as advance payment for the treatment. But, before the surgery, the hospital told the family to take the patient home stating that she was brain dead. Mr. Moinuddin took the ‘body’ to the cemetery for the last rites in an ambulance.
At the burial ground, minutes before her ‘body’ was shifted for the last rites, Ms. Banu started breathing. Shocked, people checked her pulse, which was normal. She was given water to drink before being rushed her to a private hospital where Dr. Mohsin Pasha examined her and started treatment.
Dr. Pasha stated that no where in the discharge summary has the hospital mentioned that she was dead.
“It's very unfortunate that she had to go through this. I think it’s a case of miscommunication. The hospital might have told the family that she is brain dead and to take her home as there is nothing much that could have been done. But the family members thought that she was dead and took her straight to the burial ground. As soon as the patient was admitted, she was given treatment. She has recovered,” he said.
Despite the experience, the family is relieved. “It's a miracle that my sister is alive. Even if there was a delay of a few minutes, she would have been buried alive,” Mr. Moinuddin said.
Mr. Moinuddin, who works as a labourer with an interior designer, is now running from pillar to post to arrange money for the surgery. “Since the lockdown, it has been very difficult to eke out a living. I have already borrowed ₹1.3 lakh to pay the hospital for the treatment of Yasmin,” he said.
City-based social activist Kaleemullah said that the incident shows how hospitals are playing with people’s lives. “Had Yasmin been treated at the first hospital, she would not have gone through all this,” he said.