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MYSTERY DEATH OF WEDDING GUEST IN GOA; Black Country tourist dies 10 days after breaking leg.

Byline: ARMANDEEP BASSEY

MYSTERY surrounds the sudden death of a Midland wedding guest in the paradise Indian resort of Goa.

Wolverhampton electrician Rajinder Sharma, 37, died unexpectedly in hospital after breaking his leg - but his grieving family demanded a second autopsy after conflicting reports about his condition.

Rajinder, who had no previous health problems, jetted out to attend his brother's wedding in October but decided to stay on and travel in India.

On February 2 this year he was involved in a motorcycle accident and broke his leg. He was expected to make a rapid recovery but, ten days later, lay dead in the private Vintage Hospital, in Panjim, Goa.

Medics told his family that Rajinder had suffered multiple heart attacks and kidney failure. But an official autopsy report from Goa State hospital made no mention of heart problems at all, and instead gave the cause of death as lung disorder and accident injuries.

The dead man's brother, Suresh Sharma, claims that negligent hospital staff allowed the Black Country man's condition to deteriorate in an effort to extract extra payment for his care.

Project manager Suresh, 36, from Bradford, said the Vintage Hospital had charged him pounds 12,000 for the ten days Rajinder spent on its wards.

"It was greed that killed my brother," said Suresh. "He was perfectly healthy and only went in with a broken leg. No-one has been able to tell us how he died so suddenly while in hospital care."

Last night a spokesman for the Vintage Hospital denied any suggestion of negligence, and COMPLAINED about the tragedy.

"We have been left out of pocket by all of this controversy when the truth is we did the best we could for him," he said. "He was a troublesome patient at times but we never failed in our duty of care."

Angry Suresh responded: "Rajinder was a fit and healthy young man, and had joined a gym in Goa. He was fully conscious while his leg was operated on. He called friends and family from his hospital bed and was in good spirits."

Suresh received an e-mail from the hospital just days after Rajinder's operation to say his brother had suffered a heart attack.

"I immediately flew out to be at his side," he said. "I arrived on February 13 with my wife and mother. We were told that Raj's condition had suddenly worsened and that he had problems with his lungs and kidney.

Recovery "But we were assured that he would make a full recovery. Then they started asking, in an aggressive way, for payment of nearly pounds 12,000. I said I would arrange it through the insurance company, but they didn't seem pleased."

Later that night Rajinder was pronounced dead in hospital, after allegedly suffering multiple heart attacks and kidney and liver failure.

Suresh says he was not informed of the death until the next morning and was given an autopsy report which claimed his brother had died from a pneumonic disorder of the lungs and injuries suffered in the accident.

"There was no mention of heart attacks or any heart condition, yet that's what the hospital staff said had killed him," he said. "When I contacted offi-cials at the Goa State Hospital, which carried out the autopsy, they told me Vintage should not have said that because it's not what happened. "I immediately contacted Vintage Hospital, but they only seemed to be interested in being paid their fees. When I told them I was withholding payment until I got some answers, they tried to file criminal charges against me for non-payment."

Suresh applied for a second autopsy and met with the Chief Minister of Goa, who agreed he had been 'let down' by the staff at Vintage Hospital.

A second autopsy was carried out in late March and Rajinder was cremated two days later in India.

"We are still awaiting the results of the second autopsy, which was carried out by an independent panel," said Suresh. "We had to wait nearly 40 days to cremate my brother and we still don't know what killed him.

"Rajinder's death has hit the family hard, coming so soon after what was supposed to be the joyous occasion of my marriage. I still find myself crying in my sleep and my mother is a pale shadow of her former self.

"He was a loving brother and son with everything to live for. I just want to get to the truth."

CAPTION(S):

HAPPY TIMES: Raj Sharma (far right) with friends. PARADISE: A beach in Goa, India.
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jul 1, 2012
Words:760
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