Indonesian mother's grief over tainted cough syrup

STORY: Siti Surhardiyati says her two-year-old son Umar died within two weeks of taking tainted cough syrup - a scandal that has rocked Indonesia.

She arranges shoes outside her home every day, fighting back the sadness that her son - one of 200 alleged victims - is no longer with them. Now, her family is one of 25 in a class action lawsuit against at least eight pharmaceutical companies, and some government agencies.

"I was shocked. I couldn't believe it, it was like a dream, and it all happened so quickly since the first day when he fell sick until the day he died. It was so fast, only two weeks. As there was no information about this illness, we kept asking what caused this and what did I do wrong, all the questions that were always in my head. Because he had always been fine and nothing was wrong with him since he was born."

"I heard it was because of the medicine and I checked about it. And apparently, what Umar consumed was the same as other patients who had already died. So then the police were investigating and took a sample of the medicine that Umar consumed, and they proved that it contained ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol."

Ethyelene glycol and diethyelene glycol are found in some syrup-based paracetamol medicines. They're solvents and thickening agents.

They can be toxic, though, and are also used in antifreeze and car brake fluid.

Surhardiyati's son died of acute kidney injury, which is what has killed the 200 children since last year. Authorities say the disease is linked to the two chemicals. A lawyer for one of the families says they're seeking damages of about $224,000 each. The case is currently at trial.

Indonesia's government has banned several cough syrups and has also launched their own legal action against several pharmaceutical companies whose products allegedly contain the substances.