In a major twist to the AC compressor explosion case at the Hi-Tech Medical College and Hospital in Bhubaneswar, a victim who was undergoing treatment in the ICU claimed that he is actually Dilip Samantray who was earlier declared dead in the mishap.
The identity of Dilip, a native of Jatni in Khordha district, has become a cause of confusion. Another victim believed to be Jyotiranjan Mallick came out of ICU on Thursday following treatment and claimed that he is actually Dilip Samantaray leaving the two families devastated.
Sadly, the grief-stricken wife of Dilip had died by suicide following the news of his death.
As per reports, the hospital declared Dilip Samantray dead on December 30 following an AC compressor blast during gas filling on December 29. There were four persons admitted to the hospital after the blast who worked for the AC repairing agency outsourced by the hospital.
A body which was almost completely burnt in the blast was handed over to Dilip Samantray’s family by the hospital on December 31 who subsequently performed his last rites. However, injured Jyoti Ranjan Mallik woke up from the ventilator on Thursday and claimed to be Dilip Samantray leading to a huge confusion.
Speaking to OTV, the CEO of Hi-Tech hospital, Smita Padhi said, “All the four persons who were initially injured in the compressor blast are not the employees of the hospital. They are the staff of an outsourcing agency. A staff of that outsourcing agency had identified the injured after the blast.”
“A patient had died on December 30. We were told that he was Dilip Samantray. Following the procedure, we informed the police. The family of the deceased identified the body and signed the inquest. Then the police performed all the required procedures before handing over the body to their relatives,” she claimed.
Out of the four, two are currently under treatment. One has been identified as Simanchal, and the other person is Jyoti Ranjan Mallik. Jyoti was on the ventilator. But after he came out of the ventilator, he claimed to be Dilip Samantray. While some people are convinced that he is in fact Dilip Samantray, his father claims he is Jyoti pointing to an identification mark on his leg. We are confused about who is who. So we have informed the police. They will know what to do next,” Padhi added.
Asked about the hospital authorities’ claims, AC repair agency’s employee Sanjay Sahu said, “I knew three of them, not the fourth one. And I never identified them individually. It was utter chaos back then when the blast occurred. I just told the hospital authorities their names, did not tell them who is who. Even my mental condition was not right at that time.”
Psychologist Amrit Pattajoshi who conducted the psychometric evaluation of the patient said, “When Dilip Samantray’s body was handed over to his parents, he had already sustained 95 percent burnt. His face was abnormally swollen. Identifying him was not possible. But his family members were overly emotional. They might have mistaken the body as Dilip.”
“Being said that, Jyoti’s family, particularly his father has been seeing him on the hospital bed from the last six days. They are sure that the man is in fact Jyoti. But when the ventilator was removed today, he claimed his name as Dilip Samantray. Sometimes when a patient receives trauma, stays in the ICU for a long time, they may become delirious because of psychosis,” Pattajoshi said.
“But when we called Dilip’s family to the hospital who are already mourning his death, the patient answered all the questions right. He even knows the answers which Jyoti can’t possibly know,” he added.
Dilip’s nephew, Manoj Samantray who had come to the hospital after being called by the authorities, said, “I addressed him as ‘Mamu’ and he replied to me exactly like my uncle Dilip Samantray. When we questioned him about his family, his wife, location of his in-laws and other things, he answered them accurately.”
“When the hospital handed over the body to us on December 31, it was completely covered in polythene. The body was charred beyond recognition. As the hospital gave it to us saying he was Dilip, so we believed them and performed his last rites. But I now see, that my uncle Dilip Samantray is alive and well,” Manoj Samantray said.
It is particularly devastating for the Samantray family because, Dilip’s wife, Suna Samantray reportedly ended her life by hanging from a fan out of grief. She was reportedly depressed after hearing about her husband Dilip Samantray’s death. She could not bear the grief anymore and hanged herself.
It is pertinent to mention here that another injured had succumbed while under treatment on Tuesday night. He was identified as Sritam Sahu.
Later on Friday, the hospital authorities released a press statement in which they said, "Four persons working with Jagannath Refrigeration, a third party service provider, were injured while repairing AC compressor on the roof of the hospital on the evening of December 26. Following the blast, hospital staff and a senior employee of Payal Refrigeration, Sanjay Sahu admitted the injured to the emergency department after filling up registration forms with their names and address. Despite belonging to a third party vendor, the hospital treated the injured by the best doctors available free of cost. The family members of the injured were granted access to see the injured on the hospital bed and were also counselled to keep their patience during this trying time."
"Meanwhile, Dilip Samantray died on December 30 and Sritam Sahu succumbed on January 3. The bodies were identified by Sanjay Sahu of Payal Refrigeration and sent for post mortem," the press release said.
"After Jyoti Ranjan Mallik was out of the ventilator, he claimed to be Dilip Samantray. So the doctor called the families of both Jyoti Ranjan and Dilip to make sure who he actually is. Feeling the confusion getting bigger, the doctor informed the Medical Superintendent who called the Mancheswar Police Station requesting them to take steps in this regard," the hospital said.
It is worthwhile to mention here that the kin of Sritam Sahu, the second casualty in the blast, had alleged a massive cover up by the hospital in handling the blast and the following treatment of the injured. After the announcement of Sritam's death on December 3, his father Nakula Sahu said, "When I came here after the blast, I saw mutilated and charred bodies of all four staff. They were all dead immediately after the blast. But the hospital authorities did not reveal the truth and now gradually releasing the death numbers so that the news dies down in media.”