Losing a loved one is extremely difficult. However, losing a loved one under a cloud of suspicion and uncertainty as to how they actually died, is an entirely different pill to swallow.
Regina Varkey has found herself dealing with that uncertainty and has been on a constant quest to get the answers she has been looking for surrounding her husband’s untimely death.
Regina’s husband, Anil Varkey, was only 47 years old, when on February 13, 2017, she remembers laughing and having conversations with him before leaving Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital in Pasadena, Texas, to go home and get some rest.
Regina claims that upon getting home to get situated, she received a phone call from the staff at the hospital telling her to “get here quick, because your husband is in trouble” and stating that a Code Blue was called and that CPR was immediately performed on him after they came into his hospital room and found him unresponsive on the floor.
Regina immediately rushed back to the hospital during rush hour traffic, worried every single second of the drive, not knowing exactly what was going on with her husband.
After a nearly 30 minute drive back to Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital, Regina rushed inside and upon arrival to the room where Anil had been moved, she found him still laying on the floor with multiple staff working to resuscitate him. Regina claims that she saw the staff eventually lift him up off the floor and place him back into the hospital bed.
Anil fell into a coma. He remained in that coma, while connected to a life support machine, until he passed away on March 9, 2017.
Regina has been fighting to get the answers she seeks since that time.
Two days prior to the incident, on February 11, 2017, Anil was transported by ambulance to Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital, in Pasadena, Texas, in response to a worsening of a left foot ulceration that was badly infected. Anil was adamant about being taken to Memorial Hermann, because he felt they would provide him with the best care for his worsening condition.
According to Regina, Anil had a history of receiving medical care from Memorial Hermann, including two other recent admissions at the hospital.
From November 29, 2016 through December 6, 2016, Anil received care and was sent home with a LIFE VEST external defibrillator and IV antibiotics, until an Implantable Defibrillator could be surgically installed; and after being discharged was sent home.
From January 16, 2017 through January 27, 2017, Anil returned to the hospital because his foot ulceration and subsequent infection was getting worse, despite being on IV antibiotics three days a week and on oral antibiotics administered by his wife, who was an experienced Home Health Provider caring for patients that were home bound with various chronic illnesses.
Upon arrival to the hospital for this, a third time, Anil was admitted on a Telemetry floor and was immediately placed on a cardiac monitor while he was there in the Emergency Department at the hospital. On top of everything else, the ulceration had developed into a large gaping wound and upon X-ray, the doctors discovered that Anil’s left foot had also been broken.
According to Regina, her husband had a number of pre-existing health conditions, including high blood pressure and diabetes, to name a few. At the time, Anil was undergoing dialysis three times a week and had heart stents implanted a number of years prior.
It was no secret that Anil had a serious heart condition that needed to be monitored.
After his death, Regina went back to Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital to get a copy of her deceased husband’s medical records, to which she claims they refused to give her, while advising her to get an attorney for the request. Regina has since hired an attorney to assist her, but believes Memorial Hermann is attempting to prevent her from finding out the truth about what happened to her husband under their care.
“I believe the only reason that Memorial Hermann refuses to provide Mrs. Regina Varkey, Anil’s widow, a copy of her husband’s medical records, is because they have not completed their goal of removing all of the pages they don’t want her to see,” said Adjua Umoja-Justice, attorney for Regina Varkey. “Specifically, they don’t want to provide Mrs. Varkey with the heart monitoring strips and any other mentioning of a cardiac monitor, which will shed light on what truly happened to Mr. Anil Varkey on that fateful day.”
According to Umoja-Justice, medical records clearly state that Anil was connected to three different pieces of hospital medical equipment – a blood pressure cuff, a cardiac monitor and a pulse oximeter.
The day before the incident, on February 12, 2017, Regina claims that Anil had several visitors who came by to see him at the hospital, who all claim they saw him with a cardiac monitor connected to his chest.
Umoja-Justice argues that Anil should have been considered a “high fall risk” by Memorial Hermann staff and that precautions should have been available to prevent him from falling, such as a room sitter, placement in a room directly in the clear view of the nursing staff, a bed alarm, a chair alarm and frequent monitoring by nursing and support staff.
Umoja-Justice tells the Houston Forward Times that ensuring that Anil was deemed a “high fall risk” could have saved his life, primarily because a bed alarm would have been activated the moment he got out of his bed and a loud noise would have rang his room and at the nursing station. According to Umoja-Justice, the nurses would have known in a matter of seconds that Anil was on the floor in a critical state had an alarm button been attached to his hospital bed.
Regina has filed a lawsuit and is seeking justice for the death of Anil Varkey, as well as answers as to why Memorial Hermann did not deem him a “high fall risk” and why they have not provided the heart monitoring strips or other requested information.
In the meantime, Regina and her children are seeking to pick up the pieces and move forward with their lives, while continuing to seek justice.
Anil was a loving and devoted husband and father, who was married for over 25 years to Regina. Together, they had one teenage daughter at the time of his death, while helping to raise the three stepchildren from his wife’s previous marriage.
Standing at 6’4” tall, Anil worked hard over the years to support his family. He moved from his birthplace of India to Pasadena, Texas, where he graduated from Faith Christian Academy. Upon graduation, he attended Oral Roberts University on a basketball scholarship. Realizing that he had a talent for sales, Anil opened his own successful telemarketing business, named A.V & Associates, after which he became a Customer Retention Representative for the Houston Chronicle, winning many awards. He stayed for 20 years.
Although he loved sales, his first love was always the game of basketball. Anil played in the Indian League with the team ‘The Force’, later known as ‘The Bandits’, leading that team to play for a championship.
Anil was known for his quiet presence and his infectious sense of humor, but most importantly for his strong Christian faith and his love and dedication to his family.
The case is currently in the courts. The next court hearing is scheduled for Monday, February 17, 2020 at 10:00 am, in the 11th Civil Court of Judge Kristen Brauchle Hawkins, located at the Harris County Civil Courthouse, 201 Caroline, 9th Floor, Houston, Texas 77002.
The Houston Forward Times will continue to monitor this case and keep our readers abreast to the latest developments.