Construction worker dies of cardio-respiratory failure

Construction worker dies of cardio-respiratory failure
Mr Mohan Silamparasan.

One day, he showed flu-like symptoms before his legs started swelling up.

A few days later, he was dead.

What killed Mohan Silamparasan? And could the 22-year-old construction worker with Haru Engineering have been saved? These questions are haunting his relatives.

They were in such anguish that they clashed with the worker's boss at the mortuary and police had to be called in to resolve the situation.

The drama started on June 28 just before 10pm.

A mutual friend called Mr Mohan's friend saying Mr Mohan was found foaming at the mouth near his dormitory in Tai Seng. Mr Ranjith Kumar, also a construction worker living in a nearby dormitory, rushed to the scene after first alerting Mr Mohan's supervisor, Mr Samy.

There, the duo loaded the unconscious Indian worker onto the back of a lorry and drove him to Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Said Mr Ranjith, 23, in Tamil: "I just kept wiping the foam off his mouth and prayed for him to survive.

"But I felt his pulse go dead as we were nearing the hospital."

Within five minutes of reaching the hospital, Mr Mohan died of cardio-respiratory failure, as stated on his death certificate. Mr Mohan (inset) had not been feeling well for about a week before he died.

A few days earlier, Mr Ranjith said, Mr Mohan had seen a doctor and was told he had the flu.

But days later, his cough worsened and his legs started swelling up. Mr Mohan went to a different clinic recommended by his cousin, Mr Durairaj Gopu, 33.

The doctor asked for a chest x-ray of the construction worker and found enough cause to refer him to the hospital for a full-body checkup, Mr Durairaj said.

But Mr Mohan never made it for the check-up - four days after his visit to the clinic, he was dead.

UNCONSCIOUS

Mr Samy told The New Paper that he took Mr Mohan to hospital as soon as he realised the worker was unconscious. Mr Samy recounted: "We didn't want to wait for the ambulance and waste time, so we put him on the company vehicle instead." He denied Mr Mohan was foaming at the mouth before he died.

Relatives claimed the X-ray film showed dark spots on Mr Mohan's lungs. They also maintained that he had told his bosses about it.

Haru Engineering's director, Mr Clarence Lee, said he did not know about Mr Mohan's condition and about him needing a more thorough check-up in hospital.

Mr Samy added: "I don't know anything about a referral letter from the doctor and he didn't ask me about going to hospital." Distressed by his death, Mr Mohan's relatives in Singapore have made reports to the police and the Ministry of Manpower claiming negligence led to his death.

They felt that if Mr Mohan's bosses had allowed him to go for his check-up, he would have survived.

Filial son was sole breadwinner who sent most of pay home

Mr Mohan Silamparasan, the sole breadwinner, started working in Singapore in 2012.

His parents, stricken with heart conditions, were too sickly to work. Mr Mohan had also been putting his 19-year-old sister through college.

His cousin, Mr Devandran Subash Chandrabose, 23, who grew up with him, said he would send $300 out of his monthly pay of $540 home.

Choking back tears, he said: "He told me he wanted to pay for his sister's wedding and build a small house for his family at home."

Showdown between family, bosses at mortuary

Relatives confronted the supervisor, Mr Samy, and the director of Haru Engineering, Mr Clarence Lee,at the mortuary on June 29. About 50 construction workers who knew Mr Mohan Silamparasan also turned up, but stayed out of the confrontation, said Mr Mohan's uncle, Mr Raj Manickam, 53.

Mr Lee, 41, said Mr Mohan's family members surrounded him during the incident.

There was a heated discussion over compensation and repatriation expenses, and the police arrived later.

The discussion ended with Mr Lee agreeing to meet Mr Mohan's relatives the next day to help defray costs.

Mr Manickam, an auditor, said Mr Lee had agreed to pay for the funeral expenses, but stopped responding to his calls and messages after that.

"If I had gone down to the funeral parlour to meet them, I would not be able to leave again," Mr Lee said.

Adding that it cost him $4,800 to send Mr Mohan's body back to India, Mr Lee said: "I think I have done my due diligence by paying for the repatriation of his body and wiring a token sum to his brother-in-law."


This article was first published on August 11, 2014.
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