DURBAN: WHEN 10-year-old Prashantan Kristnasamy reported to the Netcare uMhlanga Hospital on Thursday for a minor hand operation nobody expected he would not return home.
The Grade 5 pupil died in the theatre room, minutes before his operation. He had slipped and fallen at home over the weekend.
Prashantan’s parents were too distraught to speak when Independent Media visited their Phoenix home.
Police have opened an inquest docket and are investigating the circumstances around the boy’s death.
Family spokesperson Benny Maistry, who is also the school principal at Hopeville Primary School, where the boy was a pupil, said the family was shocked.
“He was going to the theatre for a minor procedural surgery,” Maistry said.
“He was first given anaesthetic and a few minutes later the doctor told the family their son had died. He had not even done the operation.
“His family was left devastated with so many unanswered questions.
“What could have caused his death? He was not sick, he had only hurt his hand,” said Maistry.
Prashantan complained about the pain on Monday, the principal said.
His parents, Collen and Reshma, took him to a doctor who referred him to an orthopaedic surgeon at the private hospital on Thursday.
“He was a happy child as always, although he was experiencing some pain,” recalled Maistry.
“I joined the family at the hospital after I heard the news, I found them surrounding him in the bed, it was as if he was asleep and not dead.
“It’s really shocking. Pupils and teachers at the school are also devastated.” At the school, candles were lined up and lit in his honour with pictures, cards and messages from fellow pupils.
Prashantan’s class teacher, Shantal Pillay, said: “In class he just complained of the pain and said he struggled to write but it did not look serious. I am heartbroken, it’s unbelievable that he is gone. He was open and bubbly, he was loved by everyone.”
Friend and classmate Cuan Sarvanna said: “He had good heart, so when any of us didn’t have a pen, Prashantan did not mind giving away his one and only pen.”
The hospital’s general manager, Marc van Heerden, said hospital staff had met the family and conveyed their condolences.
“The doctors and nurses did everything humanly possible to save Prashantan’s life. We cannot speculate on possible causes and naturally, we will be cooperating fully with the inquest proceeding. Counsel- ling services have been provided to the Kristnasamy family and staff.”