For Santosh Kumar, what was to be a hair transplant procedure in a salon in Nungambakkam became the cause for his death.

Santosh, who was a final year medical student of the Madras Medical College underwent the transplant at the Advanced Robotic Hair Transplant Centre. Even though Santosh passed away on May 17th, the incident gained attention only later, after the Tamil Nadu Medical council received a related complaint from the State Health Department.

The transplant centre in the wrong


The ‘hair transplant centre’ where Santosh had the procedure done had only the license for hair styling and hair cutting. However, they went ahead and did the procedure which was a minor surgery without obtaining the required clearance. The fatal transplant was performed by Dr. A Vineeth Suryakuman, and Dr.Hariprasad Kasturi, an anesthetist.

Even though a post mortem to confirm the cause of death could not be performed since the deceased’s family did not file a police complaint, doctors cite anaesthesia related complications-possibly unmanageable allergy to anesthesia as the reason.

What’s clear, though are these facts: the doctor who performed the transplant was not qualified with a dermatology or a plastic surgery degree, which is a basic qualification. Also, the anaesthetist wasn’t present throughout the duration of the procedure as required.

The unfolding of a tragedy

Santosh’ was a case of grade 2 baldness in which the baldness appears to the front of the head. To remedy this, Santosh opted for the Follicular Unit Extraction(FUE). This technique involves the removal of the follicular units from the donor area and then transplanting the grafts into the bald regions.

As the follicles were replanted, Santosh started displaying discomfort. He was then taken to the same clinic in which the anaesthetist worked. Even though drowsiness and a fever persisted the doctor apparently assured him that such things were usual, there was nothing to worry about. Afterwards, he was given a paracetamol injection at a Guest Hospital in Kilpauk.

But once he left for Arni-his hometown in Thiruvannamalai, things began to get even worse-he suffered fever, vomiting and diarrhoea. The very next day, Santosh was admitted to CMC Vellore where no time was lost in shifting him to the ICU.

On the way to the hospital, Santosh’s kidney failed which led to a recommendation for dialysis. The very next day brought multiple organ failures . It was later found that the organ failure was a result of delayed anaphylaxis- an allergic reaction that could be anaesthesia-triggered. Eventually, he died of a cardiac arrest on the 17th of May.

Following DMS reports, the salon is now sealed. Also, the TN Medical Council has issued notices to the responsible doctors.

Santosh’ parents ask justice for their son and also closure of all places where surgical procedures are illegally performed so that no one would have to meet a similar fate. That would still only be small consolation to these parents for whom Santosh was a dear child born 12 years after their wedding.

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