Man who helped families in need dies alone in Chennai

No one was beside the 56-year-old, who made it his mission to bury unclaimed bodies and trace families of abandoned patients, when he passed away at GH

November 07, 2013 10:40 am | Updated May 26, 2016 04:19 am IST - CHENNAI:

M.S. Sivakumar was found on the road with a severe head injury

M.S. Sivakumar was found on the road with a severe head injury

It can only be tragic irony that a man who lived his life dedicated to ensuring a dignified burial for unclaimed bodies, died all alone in a ward at a government hospital.

M.S. Sivakumar, who helped trace families of abandoned patients and helped orphans in hospital, died at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (GH) on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the 56-year-old was found lying unconscious beside his two-wheeler on EVR Periyar Salai opposite Central Station near Buhari Hotel. He had sustained a head injury.

Some passers-by and police who recognised him, admitted him to GH. An MRI and CT scan revealed a severe head injury. On Tuesday night, he underwent surgery.

However, around 12.30 p.m. on Wednesday, doctors declared him dead.

When the Thane cyclone struck in 2012 and six sailors went missing, Mr. Sivakumar was one of the few people who rushed to help the families in distress.

Mr. Sivakumar drove from one hospital to the other, offering his services. The helpful social worker, clad in white, would frequent government hospital mortuaries, police stations and the courts. He regularly petitioned the Madras High Court for dignified burials of unclaimed bodies.

Mr. Sivakumar had been honoured by GH several years ago for his services, at a function organised by the surgical gastroenterology department.

The hospital’s resident medical officer (RMO) Anand Pratap was among those who visited him soon after his admission.

“He would take possession of unclaimed bodies for burial and would ensure that orphans who come to the hospital for treatment were admitted to orphanages. He was of great help in tracing relatives of patients who were abandoned at the hospital,” Dr. Pratap said.

In September, Mr. Sivakumar helped trace the family of an Assamese man who was found unconscious in the yard of Egmore railway station. After the man died at the hospital, Mr. Sivakumar traced his family based on a photocopy of a bank passbook found on the man.

However, on Wednesday when he died, there was no one at Mr. Sivakumar’s side. “It was sad that he became an orphan himself today,” the RMO said.

Mr. Sivakumar is a native of Ayalur village in Palakkad and used to take up documentation work in the real estate sector, according to his friend P.T. Ali.

K. Narayanan, who had known Mr. Sivakumar for the past year said he was taking care of his ailing elder sister who lived in Ayanavaram. Mr. Ali said he later traced and informed Mr. Sivakumar's family, who live in Thrissur, Kerala.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.