Dubai: An Indian couple in Dubai had allegedly turned their bedroom into a carbon monoxide chamber by burning charcoal to execute a suicide pact in which the husband died, Gulf News learnt on Monday.
As reported by this paper, V. Kumar, owner of an advertising firm, and his wife, who managed the couple’s silver jewellery store, were believed to have entered into the pact after sending their two young sons to a relative earlier this month. The couple had also sent their maid back home some days before the incident.
According to neighbours in Umm Hurair building in Karama, Kumar was found dead while his wife was rushed to Rashid Hospital on November 9. It was not clear how the couple, who hail from Andhra Pradesh, attempted to end their lives.
On Monday, the hospital issued a press release stating that a team of specialist doctors had succeeded in saving the life of an Asian woman, who was found unconscious next to her dead husband in their apartment after suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Without identifying the woman, the hospital said the cause of the carbon monoxide leak in the woman’s apartment was not determined. However, the couple’s relatives and friends confirmed that the patient is indeed the wife of Kumar.
They also said that the couple had allegedly taken pain killers before burning charcoal in a vessel inside their bedroom.
According to the hospital, the woman arrived in a critical state and was treated by a team of specialised doctors led by Dr. Sara Kazim, Consultant Emergency Medicine and Medical Toxicologist.
Dr Kazim said the woman suffered a seizure on the way to the hospital and when she woke up she was complaining of headache and nausea.
“Medical tests found that she had high levels of carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that can cause dizziness, nausea, tiredness and shortage of breath to name a few symptoms and even death if exposed to high levels,” she said.
Dr Kazim explained that after carbon monoxide is breathed in, it enters your bloodstream and attaches to haemoglobin (the part of red blood cells that carry oxygen around your body), to form carboxyhaemoglobin.
When this happens, the blood is no longer able to carry oxygen, and this lack of oxygen causes the body’s cells and tissue to fail and die. Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels such as gas, oil, coal and wood don’t burn fully. Burning charcoal, running cars and the smoke from cigarettes also produce carbon monoxide gas.
Dr Kazim said that following the diagnosis, the woman was immediately treated with oxygen and intravenous fluids and was monitored to ensure declining carbon monoxide levels.
The family sources said the couple had allegedly resorted to the extreme step due to financial issues they faced in their businesses. They said the police had found a suicide note as well.
“I don’t know why they didn’t discuss the issues with others and try to solve it,” a relative told Gulf News.
“I also wonder why the smoke and fire alarms in the building did not work. If they had, then we could have saved their lives. They could have been saved if the ventilation was good enough as well. Their flat was checked only after they stopped answering calls from November 8 and their car was found parked in some other place,” he added.
Dr Sara Kazim, Consultant Emergency Medicine and Medical Toxicologist at Rashid Hospital advised the public to be careful when burning fuels in closed rooms without a ventilation system.
With the winter around the corner, Dr Kazim advised the public to be careful of using heaters and shisha in closed rooms with no ventilation as it can cause people to feel dizziness, nausea, tiredness and short of breath to name a few and even result in death if they are exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide.
“In carbon monoxide poisoning, one cannot feel that he is poisoned as it’s odourless and one can be poisoned while sleeping without feeling it,” she added.