“The culprits should be punished,” the 23-year-old girl, who was gang-raped and brutally assaulted by six men in a moving bus on Sunday night, wrote on a pad, at the Safdarjung Hospital.

According to a senior doctor, the girl also enquired about the condition of her male friend who was attacked that night while trying to protect her from the culprits.

“She is a fighter”

Briefing journalists on Thursday, Medical Superintendent B.D. Athani said: “The girl is a fighter. When she was brought to us she was alert and conscious and very much determined to fight her condition despite the extensive and brutal assault. Also, because she understands medical procedures she is aware of how the doctors are trying to help her and the course of treatment. A large portion of her intestine which had turned gangrenous has been taken out and her condition continues to remain very critical but stable. There is, however, a fall in the platelet count which could be an indication of infection in the body — this is a major health complication that we are watching out for.”

“The young girl’s fortitude and grit are praiseworthy. She is aware of the public support and prayers,” he said.

“Alert and stable”

Dr. Athani said after the operation to remove the gangrenous portion of the intestine she had a peaceful night.

“Today she is alert, stable and conscious. Her vital parameters including respiratory rate, blood pressure, heart rate, urine output are stable. She is still being given fluids and antibiotics intravenously.”

The patient also continues to be on ventilator support “but is trying to breathe on her own. We have on Thursday reduced the ventilatory support being given to her,” the Medical Superintendent said.

Stating that the main concern now was to ensure that the condition of the girl remained stable,

Dr. Athani said: “The patient is still in the intensive care unit. We are looking at giving her total parenteral nutrition (TPN) — providing nutrition through intravenous route — because of the intestinal loss that the patient has suffered.”

The hospital is also offering psychological support to the patient’s family.

“The trauma is not just for the victim but the entire family. The couple have three children and the girl was the hope of the family. We are helping them come to terms with this terrible tragedy and telling them that all is not lost and that there is hope ahead. It is very important for the family and the victim to feel and understand that they are not alone in the ordeal and that there is a good support group that will stand by them,” Dr. Athani said.

“She has been able to communicate with gestures but we are not keen on disturbing her.”

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has announced that “in case the girl needs to be referred to a hospital outside India for treatment, the Delhi government will bear all the cost.”