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Tuesday, February 07, 2023

UF student taken off life support after two weeks in Shands

A UF student was taken off life support Monday afternoon after spending more than two weeks in Shands at UF without brain activity.

Michael Backinathan, a 22-year-old UF computer engineering graduate student, suffered severe brain damage after he was found at the bottom the pool at Arbor Park Apartments on Sept. 8, according to Steve Orlando, UF spokesman.

Backinathan, an international student from Chennai, India, was hanging out by the pool with his three roommates that night when one of them went inside.

The other two didn't see Backinathan and assumed he went inside, too.

When the first roommate came back, they realized Backinathan was underwater, Orlando said.

Orlando said none of the roommates, including Backinathan, knew how to swim.

After unsuccessfully trying to get Backinathan to the surface, the three roommates tried to find someone else to help.

By the time Backinathan was pulled out of the pool at about 8:30 p.m., he had been underwater for about seven minutes, Orlando said.

He was immediately taken to Shands.

Orlando said Backinathan's father had difficulty getting from India to Gainesville because he didn't have an updated passport.

He was finally able to get a passport and made the trip last week with the help of Dennis Jett, dean of UF's International Center, Orlando said.

He said Backinathan had no brain activity, and his father made the decision to remove him from life support Monday at about 4 p.m.

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There will be a memorial service for Backinathan today at 7 p.m. at the India Cultural and Education Center, 1115 SW 13th St.

Virendra Gupta, the center's spokesman, said Backinathan had only been in Gainesville a few weeks. This was his first year at UF.

Gupta said he had not met Backinathan, who hadn't had the chance to participate in the center.

When he heard about Backinathan's accident, Gupta said he began delivering food to his roommates, who slept in the emergency room while they waited for updates.

Backinathan's brother, who came from New Jersey, was also at the hospital, he said.

Doctors told them at the beginning that Backinathan's prognosis was not good, Gupta said.

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