Delhi’s 23-year-old gangrape victim sinking

  • Jaya Shroff Bhalla, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Dec 29, 2012 02:16 IST

The condition of the 23-year-old gangrape victim deteriorated sharply late on Friday with signs that many of her organs were failing, said the Singapore hospital where she was flown for better treatment.

“Her vital signs are deteriorating with signs of severe organ failure,” said Kelvin Loh, chief executive officer of Mount Elizabeth Hospital, where the victim was admitted early Thursday hours after she was flown out of Delhi in a surprise move.

“This is despite doctors fighting for her life including putting her on maximum artificial ventilation support, optimal antibiotic doses, as well as stimulants which maximise her body's capability to fight infections.”

The gangrape victim, a physiotherapist, is fighting brain injuries and infection in lungs, kidneys, chest and abdomen.

The hospital had informed the victim’s family of her condition and they were by “her side to comfort her”, Loh said.

“Her condition remains critical.. we are hoping for the best”, TCA Raghavan, Indian high commissioner to Singapore, told HT.

With infection reaching the brain, stomach and lungs, her chances were looking bleak, said Dr BD Athani, medical superintendent at Safdarjung Hospital, where she was treated for 10 days after she was raped and brutalized by six men and thrown off a moving bus along with a male friend on December 16.

This general view shows the entrance to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. AFP

“From day one, all our efforts were geared towards curtailing the infection but it seems to be spreading,” Dr Athani said.

Both her large and small intestines had to be removed after they turned gangrenous. An iron rod inserted in her by the rapists damaged the organs. The physiotherapist, whose “remarkable” spirit was lauded by doctors, underwent three surgeries at Safdarjung. Despite the surgeries and antibiotics, her response was not satisfactory, said Dr Athani. “Now with two cardiac arrests and damage to the brain, her condition is bleak.”

Several rounds of direct currents were given to the brain to revive her on Tuesday night after she went into cardiac arrest twice, said sources. “The damage to the heart and brain is irreversible,” said a doctor on condition of anonymity.

Insufficient oxygen supply, which can happen after a heart attack or due to a sudden drop in blood pressure, can cause brain damage. “Technically speaking, till the heart is beating and kidneys are producing urine, a person is alive. Eventually, some organ will fail before heart or kidney gives in,” said Dr Athani.

The rape caused nation-wide outrage, with anti-rape protesters holding rallies and calling for tougher laws and punishment for sexual assault. Central Delhi was virtually locked down for three consecutive days after violent clashes between protesters and police.

(With inputs from Jayanth Jacob)


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