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Gangrape victim's death: An eventuality doctors prepared themselves for

The demise of the 23-year-old girl who was brutally gang-raped on a moving bus on 16 December and had since been under intensive care battling multiple infections was an eventuality doctors attending to her had in the last few days prepared themselves for.

On Wednesday night when the critically-injured patient was flown in an air-ambulance to Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital speculation was rife about her condition. There was an unprecedented level of police deployed at the hospital, blocking reporters from getting any access to the hospital’s staff. On Wednesday, the routine health bulletins were cancelled twice and no press briefing held.

Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital. AP

Well-known cardiac surgeon Naresh Trehan’s visit to Safdarjung Hospital on Wednesday – the patient had suffered a cardiac arrest on Tuesday night – had fuelled rumours that she was going to be shifted to the Gurgaon-based super-specialty hospital Medanta Medicity, of which Trehan is the chairperson.

Trehan is reported to have been one of the many specialists who were called by the government to assess the patient’s condition. As per a report in the Deccan Herald, Trehan told Delhi BJP president Vijender Gupta that by the time he was called on 26 December (Wednesday) to the assess the patient’s condition, the government had already taken the decision to fly her to Singapore.

The dramatic hush-hush late night air-lift took everyone by surprise given the extremely fragile condition of the patient’s health.

The government’s decision drew a lot of flak from doctors in Delh. Samiran Nundy, chairperson of the surgical gastroenterology and liver transplantation department of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, who has strongly criticised the high-risk shifting, speaking earlier to Firstpost, had said that given the lack of proven benefit of the Singapore acute medical care system over the Indian one, the patient had not in any way benefitted from the transfer. (Read full report here)

The patient’s condition had been steadily deteriorating going by every new health bulletin issued by the Mount Elizabeth Hospital. On Friday night, Kelvin Loh, chief executive officer of super specialty hospital reported that the patient’s vital signs had deteriorated and there were signs of severe organ failure.

During the 10 days that the patient was admitted at Safdarjung Hospital, she had undergone three abdominal surgeries and remained on ventilator-support.

Bringing the final news of the patient on Saturday morning Loh in a statement said: “We are very sad to report that the patient passed away peacefully at 4:45 a.m. on Dec 29, 2012. Her family and officials from the High Commission (embassy) of India were by her side.”

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