Timely help could have saved a young man’s life

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On 8 May, I received an email from my friend Sreenadh Brahmapuram. This email was addressed to the Indian consulate, with a request for help, and it included a few others from the Indian community. I do not know much about their response.

After contacting Sreenadh, I visited Westmead Hospital. I met JK’s wife LK, their two-year-old son and the family’s friends. Sreenadh and I were at JK’s bedside in the ICU for some considerable time, and we spoke with his doctors. Sreenadh and I have been in contact ever since. We were also working on getting an emergency visa for JK’s sister.

JK’s wife is a student in Sydney. They are from Punjab. They were both working in part time jobs, and staying in Harris Park.

JK, a 27-year-old man, suffered from bronchial asthma, which he was self-treating with puffers. His Asthma kept getting worse, before he decided to go to the emergency department of Westmead, at the suggestion of a neighbour, who is a nurse. His asthma was really bad. On the way to the emergency, his condition worsened and he had a cardio-pulmonary arrest.

CPR was initially performed on JK by a neighbour accompanying him. Ambulance officers arrived soon after and took over the resuscitation. He was transported to Westmead hospital, where again he had a cardio-pulmonary arrest. He was intubated, ventilated and taken to ICU, but unfortunately, he sustained significant brain injury due to poor oxygen in his body prior to reaching the hospital. This led to brain-swelling, which finally turned out to be fatal.

His body was flown to India last Saturday, 17 May. The Indian Consulate assisted with the associated costs.

After this sad and unfortunate news became public, many people offered help. The Parklea Gurdwara offered financial assistance of $2100, and many others too provided assistance in whatever way they could.

This young man was the only son of his parents, with one married and one unmarried sister. His son is only 2 years old. His widow will have to support herself and look after their child. It is daunting situation.

Being a medico myself, I just think that this sad, unfortunate and devastating outcome could have been avoided if JK had sought medical assistance just a bit earlier. Bronchial asthma can be fatal if an acute attack is not treated promptly. I know that everything looks better in hindsight, but it is worth keeping in mind. When experiencing any medical problem, it is better to seek assistance from those who are qualified to offer such assistance. Self-diagnosis and self-treatment can end in adverse outcomes including fatality. It is highly advisable to seek assistance promptly and avoid any delays on the matter.

Finally, the Indian community should do what it can do to assist this family, when LK and their son return to Sydney.

Published in The Indian Sun, Indian magazine in Australia

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