52-year-old IIT-B employee dies of heart attack on train due to lack of medical help
52-year-old's death due to heart attack after getting chest pain mid-journey puts the scanner on the lack of medical facilities at our railway stations
Prakash Kadam with wife Rupa
The Kadams from Airoli were on their way to their native place - Lanja in Ratnagiri - for a fun family vacation. However, in a matter of 30-odd minutes, and over 33 km, everything turned upside down, a holiday became a funeral. Prakash Kadam, 52, who was onboard the LTT Double-Decker with his family on May 6, took ill after crossing Khed, and died of a heart attack in Chiplun. His family alleges lack of timely medical help by railway authorities.
On May 6, Prakash, wife Rupa, their teenage daughter, Rupa's sister and brother-in-law, and their teenage son boarded the LTT Double-Decker (11085) from Thane at 5.30 am. After crossing Khed, Prakash started experiencing uneasiness and went to the washroom. When he didn't return for quite some time, Rupa went to the washroom and found him sitting outside, bathed in perspiration. She helped him back to the seat and looked for a ticket-checker, even as the others kept dialling 100 and 108 for medical help, in vain.
The TC informed the control room and asked for medical help. As the train approached Chiplun station, he told the family that medical help would be provided at the station.
Left in the lurch
The family, however, has alleged that after alighting at Chiplun station, they were just left waiting there, forced to make Prakash sit on the uncomfortable seats on the platform, with no medical assistance in sight. He fainted, and the panicked family members rushed outside to find a vehicle. They found an Omni car-cum-ambulance, and Rupa and her brother-in-law took him to Life Care hospital, while her sister waited at the station with the children. At the hospital, a doctor examined Prakash and declared him "brought dead". Post-mortem report has given heart attack as the cause of death.
However, Chief PRO of Konkan Railways, L K Verma, claimed they had not been informed about the patient's condition. The railways had provided a staff nurse at the station, who had helped the family to reach the hospital in eight minutes, Verma added.
Prakash's sister-in-law Harshada Kerkar trashed railways' claim that it had provided a staff nurse, saying there was no one at the station despite them waiting for several long minutes.
Furious about the railways' apathetic attitude and lack of measures to deal with such emergencies, Kerkar added, "Prakash never had any history of heart disease. He could have been saved had we got a doctor in time."
Last rites done
Prakash was employed with IIT-B as a database assistant at the Application Software Centre. Popular for his joviality and hardworking nature, his colleagues are in shock over the news of his death. They too mentioned that Prakash had no history of heart disease. His body was brought back to Mumbai the same day, and the last rites were conducted.
As per guidelines...
There's no doctor onboard express trains, barring a few Duronto trains, which are non-stop. The TC or train superintendent is supposed to keep details of any doctor among the passengers from the reservation chart. If any passenger is in need of medical help, the TC or on-duty guard is supposed to send a message to the next station having the required facility.
As per the emergency preparedness chart, on Konkan Railway, a first-aid box is available at all stations and with guards of all passenger trains. During emergencies, there are medical officers posted at Chiplun, Ratnagiri, Verna, Madgaon, Karwar and Udupi. Accident Relief Trains are stationed in Ratnagiri and Verna with medicines and equipment to provide prompt aid.
Inputs by Rajendra Aklekar
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