Nov 01, 2011 News
New York (New York Daily News) – The freak Halloween weekend snowstorm is being blamed for the death of a sickly Bronx great granny who died when her home lost power — and her oxygen machine shut down.
Guyanese, Kheowla Ramprasad, 77, died Saturday evening at her Heath Avenue home, cops and relatives said.
The Guyanese matriarch suffered from a heart condition and diabetes. A nursing service set her up with a daytime aide and oxygen support two weeks ago, relatives said.
“She was a very, very good person. It’s sad that this is the way she passed away,” said her daughter Shala Mahmood, 50.
“She was sick but she was doing okay. Once she couldn’t breathe that generated all the other problems.”
Mahmood said power was off and on in the house all day during Saturday’s storms and went off completely before 5 p.m.
Within minutes, Ramprasad began struggling to breathe and they called paramedics, relatives said.
Her Visiting Nurse Service aide rushed around the dark house looking for a flashlight to set up a backup device that does not need electricity, said her son Anoop Kalicharan.
“It was already too late. She needed oxygen,” said Kalicharan, 57.
“We’re angry that the lights went out . . . I assume the aide was trained and did what she was supposed to do.”
Ramprasad went into cardiac arrest before paramedics arrived at 5:07 p.m. Emergency medical technicians worked in the dark for an hour but were unable to revive her.
“She was already in arrest. They had all the stuff they needed at the scene,” a Fire Department official said.
The Visiting Nurse Service did not return a request for comment, Sunday.
Relatives said Ramprasad, a retired factory worker with 12 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, was referred to the nursing service by her doctors at Montefiore Medical Center.
The family — who huddled under blankets and kept warm by boiling water and standing near the stove — was still without power Sunday afternoon, as was much of their block.
“We slept in the freezing cold. Our phones are dead. We have to call family members,” Mahmood said.
“I’m very upset right now,” she said. “I feel frustrated. Con Edison (power company) could’ve been more sympathetic. I’ve called once, twice, three times. I’m getting the same answer.”
ConEdison spokesman Allan Drury confirmed a storm-related problem had cut power to the home. “It’s a sad and tragic reminder of the impact a storm like this can have on people,” Drury said.
Kalicharan said they were trying to make arrangements to host mourners.
“People will come here in the evening and we provide food and comfort. It will be extremely difficult for us to do it in the dark. We have no heat,” he said.
More than 4,700 customers across the Bronx were without power Sunday afternoon, according to Con Edison. Drury said ConEd is working on restoring power to the area.
A total of 7,003 customers were dark in the city as of 4p.m. Sunday, with another 70,533 without power in Westchester, Con Edison said.
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