Representational image. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Representational image. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Karnataka man found alive just before autopsy, is responding to treatment

A private hospital in Belagavi declared Shankar Gombi brain dead after keeping him under two-day observation and asked his family to take his body after he met with an accident in Mahalingapur on February 27
By Arun Dev
UPDATED ON MAR 02, 2021 04:19 PM IST

A 27-year-old man declared brain dead after an accident in Karnataka was responding to treatment and his vitals were normal on Tuesday a day after he was rushed to another hospital when a doctor deputed to conduct his postmortem noticed goosebumps and movement of his hands when he touched him.

A private hospital in Belagavi declared Shankar Gombi brain dead after keeping him under two-day observation and asked his family to take his body after he met with an accident in Mahalingapur on February 27. The body was sent to the Mahalingapur government hospital in Bagalkote on Monday for post-mortem as the family prepared for Gombi’s funeral on Monday.

SS Galgali, the doctor assigned to perform the post-mortem, said as he was driving towards the hospital, there were cut-outs and banners across the town announcing Gombi’s death. “I knew the face on my surgery table, but I did not expect he would be alive,” Galgali said. Galgali found Gombi was still on a ventilator. Gombi’s family told Galgali that the doctors at the private hospital told them he will stop breathing once the ventilator support was removed.

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“The family had been told that once the ventilator is removed, he will be officially dead. So, they had started preparing for the funeral also. His friends had posted the news of the death on social media and as I reached the hospital, at least 1,000 people had gathered there,” said Galgali. He added as he started the autopsy, he saw goosebumps on Gombi’s body when he touched it. “...[It] meant there were sensations in the body. I checked with a pulse oximeter and I checked his heartbeat. There was a pulse. Then I removed him from the ventilator and waited for a bit. To my surprise, he moved his hands. I immediately called the family and shifted him to another private hospital.”

Galgali said he was told on Tuesday that Gombi was showing some improvement and his vitals are normal. “I am told there is a chance of his survival and he responding to treatment,” he said. “I have done more than 400 post-mortems in my 18-year-old career but never seen a case like that.”

A Bagalkote police officer, who did not want to be named, said no case has been registered yet as they were yet to receive a complaint. “For the case of medical negligence, the district health department will have to take a call,” he said.

Authorities at the private hospital, where Gombi was first admitted, were immediately unavailable for comments. The story will be updated as and when the hospital responds.

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