Indian man rescued from mortuary freezer dies

Mr Balasubramanyam was put in a mortuary freezer after he was mistakenly declared dead (BBC)

(BBC) A 74-year-old Indian man, who was mistakenly declared dead and put in a mortuary freezer in Tamil Nadu state, has died days after being rescued.

Mr Balasubramanyam was declared dead on Monday after being taken to hospital. It’s unclear what was wrong with him.

He was placed in a freezer until the next day when undertakers who came to collect his body for the funeral saw he was shaking and realised he was alive.

He was then taken to a second hospital but lost his battle to live on Friday.

The dean of the government hospital in the southern city of Salem, Dr Balajinathan, said the patient had been admitted in a drowsy condition following his rescue and died of lung-related problems.

He told BBC Tamil it was unclear exactly how many hours Mr Balasubramanyam had spent inside the freezer.

After he was pronounced dead by a doctor at a private hospital on Monday, his family took his body home and called a local undertaker to send a freezer box.

They then informed relatives that they would be holding a funeral on Tuesday.

The funeral company said they were told by Mr Balasubramanyam’s brother that he had “a signed letter of a doctor regarding his demise”.

Salem police chief Senthil Kumar said the family had been unable to produce a medical certificate for Mr Balasubramanyam’s death.

They have registered a case against the family for “acting rashly or negligently to endanger human life”.

The family claims that he also suffered from neurological problems, the police chief said.

Mr Balasubramanyam lived with his wife, two daughters and his brother.

It is not clear how he survived the freezing temperatures inside the box – or whether the private hospital where he was initially declared dead is also being investigated.

The BBC has tried to contact the private hospital and the family, but neither has commented, nor has there been any word from the doctor who initially pronounced the patient dead.