KOLLAM: Oomen Kurian, who died in New York of COVID-19, had plans to return to his country soon and settle down at his hometown of Karickom in Kollam. He had been working in a hospital there for 17 years.
His elder brother K John, who is in Kerala, rues the fact that he did not get a chance to see Oomen for one last time. It was almost one-and-a-half years since Oomen and his family paid a visit here, he said.
"He was planning to come back to Kerala by June and settle here. A week before he died, he called and talked to me. That day he was fine and not having any health issues. His wife and children informed me later in the week that he was admitted to a hospital with COVID-19. Then after three days, they called me at 5 am on Monday and informed me that he is no more," said John.
"I couldn't believe it at first because we were expecting him to recover. I am sad that due to the current crisis, I won't even be able to see my younger brother's body for one last time," he added.
Last week on Wednesday, he went to a hospital with a severe headache, but the doctors gave him medicine and sent him back home. As his condition was not getting better, his family members took him to the hospital again and he was admitted there. Next day, they confirmed that Oomen was suffering from COVID-19.
"Oomen is the second and I am the first child of seven siblings in our family. My other two brothers and one sister are also there in New York. Last time when he visited us, he told me that next time when he comes back home, he will not return, as he wishes to spend his last days in his native place," said John.
Officials have informed the family members that only three of them will be allowed to see his body due to safety measures. Oomen was living in the US along with his wife, son, daughter-in-law and grandson.
Steps will be taken to ensure safety of Indians in New York: Consul General to MP
NK Premachandran, an MP, said the Consul General of India in New York NK Krishnan has informed him that steps will be taken to ensure the safety of Indians including doctors, nurses and health workers residing in the city.
Meanwhile, the MP has sent a message to the Union Foreign Minister demanding that necessary steps be taken to overcome the shortage of essential equipment required for the safety of Indian health workers, including Malayalees, abroad.
The Consul General also told the MP that the health sector in New York is functioning under heavy pressure due to lack of adequate personal protective equipment required for treating patients. Apart from the overall shortage of equipment, Indians here are being given proper care and treatment, said Krishnan.
In the letter, the Consul General also informed the MP that they are in constant touch with Indian health professionals including the Association of Kerala Medical Graduates and if there are any difficulties, they will inform the concerned authorities to resolve the issue.