A day after an HIV positive patient went on a rampage in the Bombay Hospital premises and bludgeoned 75-year-old Lilabihari Thakur to death with an intravenous (IV) stand, the man’s grieving family expressed outrage over the incident and insisted that his death could have been prevented, had the hospital staff paid attention to the patient’s behaviour, which they claimed had been aggressive and abnormal since he was admitted to hospital.
Lilabihari Govardhan Thakur (75) was undergoing treatment at Bombay Hospital for cancer. The HIV+ patient hit him around 20 times with the stand, raining blows on his head and chest, causing his death
The 42-year-old patient, who has TB and is HIV positive, is now undergoing treatment at J J Hospital. Dr Yusuf Matcheswalla, who is head of the Psychiatry department at the state-run hospital, said that the man’s wife had warned nurses and doctors in Bombay Hospital that her husband had previously undergone treatment for schizophrenia.
mid-day’s May 13 report on the incident, in which two others were severely injured
“His wife revealed to us that a few years ago, he was regularly taken to a psychiatrist for treatment. However, she claims that doctors told him to stop taking treatment for the mental illness,” said Dr Matcheswalla. Meanwhile, Thakur’s family plans on filing a lawsuit against Bombay Hospital for negligence. “We conducted his last rites on Monday night, following the post-mortem.
The police told us to wait till the patient’s psychiatric evaluation is complete. After that, we will lodge a case against the hospital. For now, we have sent a written complaint to the Azad Maidan police station,” said Pankaj, son of the deceased. Lilabihari was undergoing treatment for cancer. “My mother saw my father being assaulted repeatedly. She is in a state of complete shock.
I saw the patient several times while visiting my father he was just a few beds away. He would constantly shout at his relatives and his behaviour was very odd. How did the hospital staff not notice that?” he questioned.
After the Agripada resident was admitted to Bombay Hospital on May 8 for meningitis, he remained aggressive, irritable and angry in the medicine ward. “After we started giving him medicines, he has been in touch with reality and is interacting well with us.
Factors like TB medication, other stressors and lack of treatment for a mental illness can precipitate psychosis. Sadly, they were not able to see the symptoms and didn’t give adequate importance to the wife’s requests that he be treated for mental illness,” added Dr Matcheswalla.
Meanwhile, the patient was yesterday sent for CT scans and MRIs to detect brain lesions. Dr TP Lahane, the dean of J J Hospital, said, “The psychiatric evaluation has started and the patient is responding well. Thakur’s post-mortem was conducted on Monday. His death was caused by multiple injuries.”