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Move to Singapore futile, say experts

delhi Updated: Dec 30, 2012 02:33 IST
Jaya Shroff Bhalla
delhi gangrape

On the night of December 25 when the gangrape victim suffered two cardiac arrests at the Safdarjung Hospital, her pulse was missing for a few minutes when, the doctors say, they had almost lost her.

A day later, the woman was flown to Singapore in a sudden move by the government.

Medical experts say the whole exercise of transferring the patient to Singapore for “better” treatment seemed “futile” from the very outset.

Dr Samiran Nundy, transplant specialist at Sir Gangaram Hospital, said, “The failure of the right heart clearly means she was very sick and the question of intestinal transplant didn’t arise at all. There was no point in moving her.”

Director general of health services Dr Jagdish Prasad, too, conceded that the woman was in extremely poor health.

“On 25th night, her right heart had completely failed after two cardiac arrests. Her abdomen, lungs and kidneys had infection which could not be stemmed anymore. The girl was in a very bad shape,” said Prasad. He went on to defend the decision of shifting her. “But it was for better treatment that it was decided to send her to Singapore.”

Experts, however, say the right heart failing means that the patient is very critical. “The right heart receives blood from the rest of the body, pumps it into the lungs for re-oxygenation. If it has failed it means that the forward blood flow has weakened, probably due to an infection in the lungs. So, the patient’s body starts swelling up,” said Dr Ashok Seth, chief of cardiac services at the Fortis Escorts Heart Institute.

“Even the blood pressure drops sharply. With two consequent cardiac arrests, there is a fair chance that there was poor oxygen supply to the brain, meaning high chances of brain damage,” he explained.

While an eight-member committee of specialists gave a go-ahead, it was only to agree with bureaucrats, ministers and the Delhi police, who only wanted them to certify that she was ‘fit to be flown’.

Even the medical bulletins, which were a daily routine, were postponed twice and finally cancelled. By 11.30 pm, the patient was flown to Singapore.

“The police wanted to control the situation in the Capital and by moving her out of the country, things fell into place naturally,” said a hospital source.