Wolverhampton boy died minutes after jab on trip to India
Damien Herian, 10, had been enjoying a day-out at a popular adventure theme park in the former Punjab state capital of Jalandhar when he fell ill.
A Black Country schoolboy died in his father’s arms just minutes after being given a mystery injection for a stomach ache while on holiday in India. Damien Herian, 10, of Wolverhampton, had been enjoying a day-out at a popular adventure theme park in the former Punjab state capital of Jalandhar when he fell ill.
His father Navtag, 43, immediately took him to a local doctor who gave the youngster an injection. Father and son then began walking to a nearby relative’s home when former Graiseley Primary School pupil Damien suddenly lost all feeling in his legs.
Navtag said: “I picked him up and began joking to him that he’s a big boy now and shouldn’t need carrying. I didn’t think it was anything serious and thought he was just a bit tired after a long day playing in the park.”
Minutes later his son died in his arms after suffering from what appeared to be an epileptic fit. “I knew straightaway he’d gone. It was like the fit was his last breath and he just lay there in my arms with his mouth slightly open.” Navtag rushed his son to the nearby renowned Oxford hospital where medics battled in vain to revive the young Arsenal fan in April 2009.
He said: “They tried their best but they couldn’t bring him back and I was told I should take the body back to my home village and make funeral preparations.”
Damien’s body lay in the morgue at his ancestral village of Herian, while Navtag battled with red-tape to get his son’s body flown back to the UK for a post mortem. Navtag said: “I was adamant that I did not want the post mortem to be done in India because I was just a bit wary about what they might do to his body.
“I did not want them cutting it up and I didn’t quite trust them. But the authorities there made it very difficult for me to fly the body back home until they had carried out a post mortem.
“The system is quite corrupt in Punjab and everyone from lowly policemen to doctors wanted paying before they were prepared to let me waive having the post mortem done and release the body.”
Navtag said even the British High Commission advised him that he couldn’t take Damien’s body from India without a post mortem being carried out on Indian soil. “In the end I was contacted by a relative who knew some high-ranking Punjab officials who cut through all the red-tape and signed off his body so I could fly it back to the UK.”
However, a post mortem examination in Wolverhampton failed to fully establish a cause of death, because of the strong embalming fluids that had been used on the body to facilitate travel.
“The pathologist had to put natural causes as the cause of death but I’ll never know what really happened,” said Navtag. “I did return to India and tried to track down the doctor who had given Damien the injection but he was long gone.”
The dad added: “Damien was a lovely kid. Typical boy, he wanted to work in his uncle’s garage when he grew up and he was always active and boisterous. “He was born three months premature but he had been given the all-clear healthwise since the age of five.”
The case is the latest in a string of unexplained deaths of Britons in the north Indian region which have come to light since the revelations surrounding the death of eight-year-old Gurkiren Kaur Loyal.
Gurkiren, from Hockley, Birmingham, was being treated for dehydration when she was given an injection which apparently caused her death in front of her watching parents.
It is alleged that medics deliberately killed Gurkiren in order to harvest her organs, which would then be sold. Thousands of Punjabi ex-pats living in the Midlands travel to their homeland
every year, with many making the trip especially to get cheaper medical treatment than in the UK. Punjab police have started criminal proceedings to find the cause of Gurkiren’s death.