I received an email from my friend, Sreenadh Brahmapuram, on 8th May, 2014. This email was addressed to Indian Consulate, with request for some help, and included a few from the community. I am not sure about their response.
After contacting Sreenadh, I visited Westmead Hospital. I met JK’s wife, LK, their 2 years old son and their close friends. Sreenadh and I were at JK’s bedside in the ICU for some considerable time and spoke with his doctors. Sreenadh and I have been in contact ever since. We were also working on getting emergency visa for JK’s sister.
JK’s wife is a student in Sydney. They belong to Punjab province of India. They both were working in part time jobs, and staying in Harris Park.
JK, a 27 years old young 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 dept of Westmead hospital, at the suggestion of a neighbour, who is a nurse. His Asthma was really bad. On the way, he had further worsening and had a cardio-pulmonary arrest. CPR was initially performed by the neighbour who was 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 has now been transported to India last Saturday, 17th May, with the cost of such transportation taken care by Indian Consulate.
Sreenadh has provided all possible assistance to the family. He deserves kudos and heart-felt gratitude. What a gem of a person he is!
After this sad and unfortunate news became public, many people offered help. Parklea Gurdwara offered financial assistance of $2100.00 and many others too provided assistance in whatever way they could.
This young man is the only son of his parents, with one married and one unmarried sister. His son is only 2 years old and is oblivious to the tragedy. His widow will have to fetch for herself and look after the kid by herself. It is pretty daunting.
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 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 and helpful to seek prompt assistance from those who are qualified to offer such assistance. Self-diagnosis and self-treatment can end up in avoidable adverse outcome including fatality.
It is not worth it to delay seeking medical assistance promptly.
People who are on student visa or on visitor visa in Australia are required to have valid health Insurance, which covers approx. 85% of the medical bills from doctors and hospitals. I might add that Health Insurance was not the relevant factor for JK as he carried this cover.
Finally, we, as the community, should do what we can do to assist this family, when LK and their son return to Sydney.
Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/21st May, 2014
*Names of JK and LK not disclosed.
This is one of the many stories which unfortunately had a tragic ending.
However this isn’t new and my experience(www.indianconnection.com.au) with newcomers to Australia(students or migrants) have clearly
highlighted a gap in the support system.The accountability clearly lies with Indian Consulate & Australian government.
In my opinion he would not have Medicare. So he could not afford to go doctors. As you know that doctors are expensive if not subsidies by Medicare.
We should ask the Government that the students and spouse should be issued Medicare (when students are paying good amount of college fees).
Thank you, Moti ji. Student Visa holders are required to have valid Health Insurance, which covers 85% of bills from Doctors and hospitals. Many doctors do not charge more than what is covered by Health Insurance. JK did have a valid Health Insurance.