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Nipah virus outbreak: ‘Don’t think I will be able to meet you all again’, Kerala nurse tells husband in letter before she died

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan paid homage to the nurse who died from Nipah virus infection, Lini Puthussery, on social media, saying “ her sacrifice is incomparable.”

india Updated: May 22, 2018 18:22 IST
Ramesh K Babu
Ramesh K Babu
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Nipah virus,Kerala nurse,Nipah virus outbreak
Kerala animal husbandry department and forest officials deposit a bat into a container after catching it inside a well at Changaroth in Kozhikode on May 21, 2018.(PTI Photo)

“I think I am almost on my way. I don’t think I will be able to meet you all again. Please look after our children well. Take them to the Gulf and don’t be all alone like our father, please,” wrote Lini Puthussery, 32, the nurse who died of Nipah virus infection (NiV) on Sunday to her husband Sajish, who goes by one name.

Sajish had returned from Bahrain, where he works as an accountant, on Sunday to be with her, but she asked him not to insist on seeing her. Instead of meeting him, she sent him a hurriedly-scribbled note.

The second of three daughters of Radhamani and Nanu, Lini did her nursing in Bangaluru before joining EMS Memorial Co-Operative Hospital in Perambra as a part-time nurse. She got ill after treating three patients who died of Nipah virus infection.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan paid homage to her on social media, writing, ”Her sacrifice is incomparable. Till her last she was dutiful.”

“I spoke to her before she got hospitalised and she was really worried over the death of Mohamd Sadik, one of the first persons to die in the Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala. She developed fever in a day or two after his death and passed away,” said Sajish, holding his children, aged five and two, close to him. He became lost for words when his younger child asked why their mother hadn’t come back home after night duty.

Since two children lived with their mother and younger one was still being nursed before she was hospitalised, both children will also be tested for NiV once the family comes out shock.

Sajish is not complaining that the family was not able to see her and do her last rites, but he was shocked by the callousness of some of the hospitals staff. The ambulance drivers at the medical college refused to carry her body to the electric crematorium till the police intervened, he said.

“There is no place for emotions. If the situation warrants, we have to obey what the authorities say,” he said.

Lini’s colleagues at EMS Memorial Co-Operative Hospital recalled her as a quiet worker. She was on night duty when Mohammad Sadik, the first patient to die in the Nipah virus outbreak, was admitted. She nursed him till he was shifted to Kozhikode Medical College Hospital, where he died.

“None of us realised the gravity of the illness. We all thought it is a viral fever and treated the patients without masks and other protective gear,” said a senior nurse, who did not want to be named as she is not authorised to speak to the media.

At least three nurses have been hospitalised for symptoms of fever and headache in the isolation ward at the Medical College Hospital and their blood samples have been sent for testing to the National Virology Institute, Pune.

First Published: May 22, 2018 13:37 IST