India gang rape victim sent to Singapore hospital for treatment
NEW DELHI - A 23-year-old Indian medical student, who is fighting for her life after a gang rape that has sparked protests in India, has been flown to Singapore for further medical treatment at Mount Elizabeth Hospital.
She is accompanied by her parents and a team of Indian doctors led by Dr Yatin Gupta, head of the critical care unit at Delhi's Safdarjung hospital, where she was under treatment.
The Cabinet made the decision to fly her and her parents at government cost to Singapore based on the advice of a team of government and private doctors.
The victim's and her parents' passports and visa were expedited by the Ministry of External Affairs following the cabinet decision on Wednesday.
The decision to move the victim out of the country was kept under tight wraps. When asked if the government was contemplating sending her abroad for treatment, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said she was not in a condition to be moved, but he did add that the decision depended on doctors.
On Dec 16, the student, who has not been named so far, was raped by six men in a bus she and her male companion has boarded to go home after watching a movie in a mall. The six men, who have since been arrested, beat and gang raped the girl and then stripped her before throwing her and her male companion, who was also beaten, out of the bus.
"During the assault, she had suffered severe multiple intestinal. abdominal and other injuries. With her fortitude and courage, she has survived the after-effects of injuries so far but her condition continues to be critical,'' said Safdarjung Hospital's medical superintendent B.D. Athani.
"It has been decided that the patient be shifted abroad to Mount Elizabeth Hospital as advised by team of doctors for further treatment in Singapore. The hospital has state of art multi-organ transplant facility.''
Since the incident, the victim, whom doctors say has shown great will to survive and fighting spirit, underwent three operations. In one operation, doctors had to remove her small intestines because of infection. She has been on ventilator support but her condition is understood to have become critical and doctors are worried about internal infection.
The brutality of the crime in the capital city had triggered days of protests, even resulting in violent clashes, with protestors demanding justice for the student and the police.
The protests ebbed after 47-year-old police constable Subhash Chand Tomar died on Tuesday morning from injuries sustained during the protests. He was cremated with full police honours on Tuesday.
But smaller peaceful protests have continued to take place in Delhi, with protestors asking for justice for the girl and safety for women.
The government on Wednesday set up a three-member commission of inquiry to look into possible lapses by police. The commission has been given three months to submit its report.
The brutal rape has also started a debate on the safety of women in a country where a woman is raped every 22 minutes.