Controversy erupts over death of transwoman in Kochi

Transgenders stage protest in front of hospital alleging medical negligence

The death of transgender activist and Kerala’s first transwoman radio jockey Anannyah Kumari Alex has kicked up a storm with the community members alleging medical negligence and even suspecting whether it was indeed a case of suicide.

Anannyah was found hanging at her apartment at Edappally on Tuesday evening. The Kalamassery police have registered a case for unnatural death inferring it to be a case of suicide.

The transgender community staged a protest in front of the hospital, Renai Medicity, on Wednesday where Anannyah had undergone Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) a year ago and subsequently developed complications.

“Anannyah should receive justice. The medical negligence on the part of the hospital definitely contributed to her death. I find her death mysterious. She was too strong-willed a person to opt for suicide,” said Sruthi Sithara, a transwoman and a close friend.

Nadira Mehrin, another transwoman, also felt that the victim was not the kind to end her life. “The emotional trauma caused by the post-surgery complications definitely played a role,” she said.

The post-mortem, which was originally scheduled for Wednesday, was postponed after the community members backed by the victim’s father petitioned the Kalamasserry police demanding it to be conducted only by a medical panel of experts.

“I had spoken to her three weeks ago when she shared her physical problems and hardships on account of joblessness,” said Anannyah’s father S. Alexander.

Another petition was filed with the Palarivattom police demanding to stop SRSs at Renai Medicity alleging that the complications caused by medical negligence led to the death. The police, however, said that they are not authorised to issue such directions.

Hospital’s stance

Meanwhile, the hospital issued a statement absolving its team led by doctors Arjun Asokan, who performed the surgery on the victim, and Madhu of the Renai Centre for Comprehensive Transgender Health, of any medical negligence.

Shortly after the surgery, the victim developed intestinal obstruction, a known SRS complication, and a procedure was done to address it. She was subjected to the surgery after weeks-long counselling about potential complications and securing her consent letter.

She was satisfied about the treatment at the time of discharge and complained only 6-7 months later about the surgically implanted body parts and some urinal problems. Another surgical intervention was recommended to correct those issues and she was convinced of such follow-up treatment.

Later, she, however, complained of medical negligence and sought a huge compensation. However, a medical board looking into the issue on her own demand ruled out any medical negligence, the statement said.

“The hospital management was willing to part with her medical documents to help her seek legal recourse. The management was also willing to help with her follow-up treatment considering her financial state but declined her other not legally-binding demands,” claimed the hospital.

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