Mumbai: Girl dies as gas geyser snaps oxygen supply in bathroom

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Doctors suspect Dhruvi fell unconscious shortly after breathing in carbon monoxide as oxygen level dropped in the bathroom.

Four days after suffering hypoxia reportedly from carbon monoxide poisoning, caused due to emissions from a bathroom-fitted gas geyser, a Class X student died Friday morning, on her 16th birthday, police said.

A Borivali resident, Dhruvi Gohil, had suffered brain swelling and succumbed at Mangal Murti hospital at Gorai, where she was undergoing treatment, doctors said. They said scant oxygen supply in the bathroom had affected Dhruvi’s brain and caused convulsions.

Gas geysers consume oxygen to generate heat for warming water. In an ill-ventilated bathroom, they can consume the entire oxygen forcing a person to breathe in carbon monoxide — a known cause of epileptic seizures and brain damage.

Dhruvi was preparing for her ongoing exams till late Saturday night. On Sunday, she went to have a bath around 6.45 am. “She wanted to wash her hair, usually that takes longer. Her parents heard some noise from the bathroom but were not alarmed. It was only at 8 am when she did not come out that they started knocking on the door,” her uncle Yagnesh Parmar said.

When her parents broke open the door, Dhruvi was found unconscious, with the right side of her body burnt due to hot water. The family has been using the gas geyser for several years. Due to a dip in the temperature, they had shut the blinds in the bathroom recently.

According to Dr Vivek Chaurasia, Dhruvi was brought unconscious to Mangal Murti Hospital on Sunday morning. “We immediately put her on a ventilator when she started gasping for breath. She was in the bathroom for 75 minutes and that had affected her brain. By the second day, her brain swelling increased and she suffered multiple convulsions,” Chaurasia said.

The 15-year-old was treated by neurologists Dr Sweety Mathy and Dr Manoj Rajani. Doctors suspect she fell unconscious shortly after breathing in carbon monoxide as oxygen level dropped in the closed space. On Friday morning, she died despite intensive ventilator support.

“She was a meritorious student. Her father works in Pune and visits them on weekends. She was happy as he was back home before her birthday,” Parmar said.

According to doctors, the side-effects due to gas geyser increase during winters when the outlet for air is often kept shut. Senior citizens and people with respiratory illness are more prone to suffer.