Mumbai: Infected lung led to school girl's death, says forensic expert

Aug 11, 2018, 18:23 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

With 502 kids complaining of nausea, doctors suspect panic; post-mortem report of child who died points to TB as cause of death

Mumbai: Infected lung led to school girl's death, says forensic expert
Chandni's father Shahid Shaikh said she was fine till she took the tablet

The 14-year-old student who died after she, along with her classmates, was given folic acid and anti-worm tablets at a civic school at Govandi on Friday, was in fact suffering from a lung ailment. The preliminary autopsy late Friday evening stated that the cause of Chandni Shaikh's death was an 'infected lung'.

Children from Sanjay Nagar thronged Rajawadi Hospital with complaints of nausea and stomach ache yesterday. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar
Children from Sanjay Nagar thronged Rajawadi Hospital with complaints of nausea and stomach ache yesterday. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar

A team of forensic experts attached to the Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Grant Medical College and JJ Group of hospitals, conducted the autopsy that lasted two hours. A forensic expert who did not wish to be identified said, "We found pulmonary haemorrhage (bleeding in both lungs), which is the result of a lung infection. We have preserved the lungs, brain, spleen, heart and kidneys for a histopathology examination to rule out any underlying ailment, especially tuberculosis or pneumonia. The histopathology samples will be sent to JJ hospital." Also, the viscera samples have been preserved for a chemical analysis to rule out any drug reaction or poisoning. This sample will be sent to the State Forensic Science Laboratory, Kalina.

After Chandni's death, there was much panic among parents, who rushed their children to nearby hospitals after they too complained of nausea. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar
After Chandni's death, there was much panic among parents, who rushed their children to nearby hospitals after they too complained of nausea. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar

When asked if the child was malnourished or showed any injuries on her body, the surgeon said no. The surgeons for the time being have issued a preliminary cause of death as, 'findings of pulmonary haemorrhage', the final 'cause of death' certificate will be issued after receiving the histopathology and chemical analysis finding reports.

The Shivaji Nagar Police have already recorded the statement of Chandni's parents and registered an accidental death case under section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

After Chandni's death, there was much panic among parents, who rushed their children to nearby hospitals after they too complained of nausea. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar

Doctors attached to Rajawadi Hospital said, "Chandni was brought to our hospital around 10.30 am and was declared dead on admission. Her parents were hesitant to have the body sent for a postmortem, but after a lot of persuasion they agreed. They even informed the doctor that Chandni was undergoing treatment for pulmonary cox."

A forensic surgeon attached to Rajwadi postmortem centre said, "When a constable who visited the PM centre was told there was no facility to video record the procedure, the cops took the body to the JJ postmortem center."

Over 400 children examined
Soon after Chandni was taken to Rajawadi Hospital, other children in the age group of 4 and above started arriving at both this hospital and at Shatabdi hospital in Govandi. Rajawadi Medical Superintendent Dr Vidya Thakur said, "Till 9.30 pm, we had examined 400-plus children, and almost all were discharged after keeping them under observation for a few hours. Other than nausea, the children did not show any signs of food or drug poisoning, nor were they vomiting. Only 17 children, who were brought late in the evening, were kept back for observation."

"Apart from paediatricians from Rajawadi, a team from Sion hospital, too had come to assist the overcrowded hospitals. No samples could be taken [vomit or stools] as none of the children had any such problem. Out of the 17, some children had been having loose motions for the past few days and they had to be admitted for treatment. The motions were not because of the tablets given to them on Friday," said a treating doctor.

Biscuits and selfies
A local social worker, Prakash Wani, who was at Rajawadi hospital, said, "Most of the children were brought to the hospital by their parents only as a precaution and these children, when discharged, were given biscuit packets and some took photos with their other friends."

The buzz in the locality was that parents were told by locals that if they got their child admitted or even had case papers of the hospital mentioning that the child was brought in for a reaction to medication, they stood a chance of demanding compensation from the BMC.

Police speak
Additional CP (East) Region Lakhmi Gautam said, "The local police have already seized the medicines, which will be sent for testing only if a criminal case is registered. At this stage, we are awaiting the postmortem findings. Since the morning, the local police and hospital doctors at both Shatabadi in Govandi, where 20 per cent of the cases were referred to, and Rajawadi, where 80 per cent of the cases were referred to, were quick to treat the patients and that helped ensure nothing untoward happened," he said.

Police said they had been informed by locals that Chandni had been given the medicine on Monday and had not been going to school for two days. She began to feel unwell on Thursday and was taken to hospital on Friday. Police are verifying if this was the case.

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