Delhi gang-rape victim dies in Singapore hospital
The 23-year-old girl, who put up a brave battle for life after she was gang-raped and brutally assaulted in a Delhi bus a fortnight ago, that had created a nationwide outrage, died early Saturday morning in a Singapore hospital.
The girl’s horrific ordeal galvanized Indians to demand greater protection and punishment for sexual violence that impacts thousands of women in India every day.
The tragic news stunned lakhs of well-wishers of the girl who hoped she will pull through. Capital Delhi was on edge on Saturday morning with police blocking all roads leading to India Gate and shutting down metro services. Still hundreds of protesters are expected to hit the roads and clash with police. The girl’s body is expected to reach Delhi from Singapore around evening.
The girl, was admitted to the well-known multi-organ transplant facility Mount Elizabeth Hospital on Thursday morning in an extremely critical condition, breathed her last at 4.45 am (2.15 am India time). She was earlier treated at the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi.
"We are very sad to report that the patient passed away peacefully at 4.45 am on 29 Dec 2012 (Singapore time)," the hospital's Chief Executive Officer Dr Kelvin Loh said in a statement.
"Her family and officials from the High Commission of India were by her side. The Mount Elizabeth Hospital team of doctors, nurses and staff join her family in mourning her loss," the statement said.
The body has been moved to the mortuary in the Singapore General Hospital for completion of some formalities since she is a foreigner. The family of the girl wants the body to be taken to India, Indian High Commissioner T C A Raghavan told reporters. He said the girl, who was conscious, fought a brave battle till the end. She was brought to Singapore for being provided good medical treatment.
"The family is shattered by this development. At the same time, they realized that best possible medical attention was given. And in the end it was the scale of injuries that proved too much for the medical attention provided to her," the envoy said.
He said the final few hours was a trying time for the girl's family and they bore the entire process with a great deal of fortitude and courage. Raghavan said the family has requested that their privacy be respected in their hour of grief.
The girl, accompanied by her parents, was flown in an air ambulance in a critical condition on Wednesday night after her health had suffered a setback that morning in the Delhi hospital following a government decision over which experts were divided. The six-hour journey itself was said to have been eventful with her blood pressure having dipped alarmingly.
The patient had remained in an extremely critical condition since admission to Hospital in the morning of 27 Dec (Singapore time), the Mount Elizabeth hospital statement said.
"Despite all efforts by a team of eight specialists in Mount Elizabeth Hospital to keep her stable, her condition continued to deteriorate over these two days."
The hospital statement said "She had suffered from severe organ failure following serious injuries to her body and brain. She was courageous in fighting for her life for so long against the odds but the trauma to her body was too severe for her to overcome."
PM condoles girl’s death
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday condoled the death of the Delhi gang-rape victim and expressed the hope that the entire political class and civil society will set aside narrow sectional interests and agenda to make India a demonstrably safer place to live in.
He said it would be a true homage to her memory if the emotions and energies of the youth generated by the brutal assault on her are channelised into a constructive course of action.
Deeply saddened by the death of the girl, he joined the nation in conveying to her family and friends his deepest condolences at this terrible loss. "I want to tell them and the nation that while she may have lost her battle for life, it is up to us all to ensure that her death will not have been in vain.
"We have already seen the emotions and energies this incident has generated. These are perfectly understandable reactions from a young India and an India that genuinely desires change. It would be a true homage to her memory if we are able to channelize these emotions and energies into a constructive course of action," he said in his condolence message. He said the need of the hour is a dispassionate debate and inquiry into the critical changes that are required in societal attitudes.
Government, Singh said, was examining on priority basis the penal provisions that exist for such crimes and measures to enhance the safety and security of women. "I hope that the entire political class and civil society will set aside narrow sectional interests and agenda to help us all reach the end that we all desire making India a demonstrably better and safe place for women to live in," Singh said in his condolence message.
The Prime Minister said he prays for the peace of the departed soul and hoped that her family will have the strength to bear this grievous loss.
The woman and a male friend, who have not been identified, were traveling in a public bus after watching a film on the evening of Dec. 16 when they were attacked by six men who took turns to brutally assault her. They also beat the couple and inserted an iron rod into her body resulting in severe organ damage. Both of them were then stripped and thrown off the bus, according to police.
Indian police have arrested six people in connection with the attack.
Docs defend decision to shift
As questions cropped up over shifting the Delhi gangrape victim to Singapore, the doctor, who led the team that treated her in Safdarjung Hospital, and another who accompanied her in the air ambulance, today rebutted criticism of the decision saying the intention was to save her at any cost.
Maintaining that this was not the time to have a debate whether the decision to shift her was political or medical, Dr B D Athani, Superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital, said "The pure intention was to save her. The whole nation was praying for her and everyone was hoping for the best. We could not have given hope. We wanted to save her."
Dr Yatin Mehta, a critical care specialist of the Medanta Medicity Hospital, said he was surprised by criticism of the decision. Some experts like Dr Samiran Nandi of the Ganga Ram Hospital had expressed surprise why a critically ill patient with infection in blood and body, high grade fever and on ventilator was been transferred. Mehta said the patient survived for 48 hours in Singapore and so it cannot be said that she should not not have been transferred.
- Asian Tribune -