“She was a fighter and definitely wanted to live,” said Safdarjung Hospital Medical Superintendent B.D. Athani, speaking about Delhi’s ‘brave heart’ — the 23-year-old gang-rape victim who battled for life at Safdarjung Hospital here for 10 days before being shifted to Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Singapore, on December 26.
Her death in Singapore has left the Safdarjung Hospital staff shaken. According to Dr. Athani, the doctors and other medical staff at Safdarjung Hospital shuddered whenever they thought of the brutal assault that the woman suffered at the hands of the six men on December 16.
“Despite the extensive nature of her injuries, which substantially reduced the chances of the patient being able to pull through the assault, she fought hard, never giving up hope of making a full recovery. Even after the surgery for removal of her intestine, she remained in a good frame of mind and never spoke about or indicated any signs of depression/anxiety. Till the very end she would try and reassure her parents and seemed eager to help us treat her,” he said.
Claiming that he has never seen such an extensive, grievous assault, Dr. Athani said: “This young girl was so brutally battered that it shocked everyone on duty that night in the casualty when the police control room van brought her in.”
“The news of her death has shaken us all. Despite knowing that her chance of recovery was not very bright, we were hoping that she will pull through. Tuesday night’s cardiac arrest and damage to the brain was a setback for the patient. With the death of this bright young girl, we can only extend our prayers to the bereaved family and hope that we never have to treat such a case again,” he added.
"Are our hospitals inadequate?"
Condoling the death of the Delhi gang rape victim, the Indian Medical Association on Saturday questioned the decision to airlift her from here to Singapore, and wanted to know whether hospitals in India lacked infrastructure to treat such patients. Was the girl shifted for medical purposes or were other factors involved?
Some doctors have directly attacked the government, saying the shifting of the patient was a political move.
The 23-year-old physiotherapy student was airlifted to Singapore on Wednesday night after she had undergone treatment for 10 days at Safdarjung Hospital.
IMA president K. Vijayakumar told PTI: “Indian hospitals have infrastructure at par with their counterparts in other countries. India is emerging as a major centre of medical tourism and obviously the shifting of the girl raises the question whether our hospitals lack the necessary facilities.” Indian doctors were “equally competent” to handle such cases, he said.
IMA honorary secretary Narendra Saini asked: “Is it safe or of any advantage to transfer of patient in this condition? Do our hospitals lack infrastructure or our doctors incompetent to handle such patients or this particular decision was taken for other reasons?”