A New Zealand man living in Japan died of a heart attack after being tied to a bed for around 10 days in the psychiatric ward of the Yamato City Hospital, his family alleged.
Kelly Savage's family is campaigning for full access to his medical records after being denied by the hospital authorities. Savage was admitted on 30 April following a manic episode with psychotic features, the Guardian reported.
The family has also urged the New Zealand government to call on Japan to change its medical practices. "We don't want to sue anybody, we don't want money. We just want other people to not go through this terrible situation again," the family said.
This comes after the 27-year-old Kelly, who had been working in Japan for two years as an English teacher, died in May after a massive heart attack.
His family has alleged that Kelly had the attack due to the deep vein thrombosis, which he developed after being restrained to a bed for almost ten days. His brother Patrick, who was with him when he was admitted, said that Kelly was suffering from minute issues. His condition was not that severe to deserve forcible restraint.
"I was there when the restraints were put on. He wasn't resisting, he wasn't struggling, there was no violence. He definitely needed to go to hospital because he wasn't in a good state and he shouldn't be left free to run around completely, but he was already in a locked room, a locked ward," he added.
According to reports, Kelly had a history of depression in New Zealand but his mother, Martha said he was doing well in Japan, the country he loved.
However, suddenly in April, he stopped taking his medicines and his bipolar symptoms reappeared. That's when Patrick decided to take help from the medical experts.
Patrick also said during Kelly's stay at the hospital, he was told to bring adult nappies for him as they want him to be restrained for "long time", which means he was also not allowed to use the toilet.
The Savage family has also alleged that they were not allowed to meet Kelly for more than a week as it was Golden Week – a festival holiday in Japan – and the hospital said it was understaffed.
But when they met him finally, Kelly was calm. He was "pretty much out of it" due to strong medication, his mother said. He had even begged his father and brother to take him along as he believed he would die there.
Days later, Kelly was found in cardiac arrest in mid-May and he died seven days later. His death certificate states that he died due to hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy – brain injury caused by oxygen deprivation to the brain – caused by cardiopulmonary arrest.
But his family has declined to believe the autopsy and said that deep vein thrombosis – a serious condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein located deep inside your body – may have been involved because of the long period of restraint.