Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 12/29/2012 03:04 | By Channel NewsAsia

India gang—rape victim "struggling against the odds"

India gang—rape victim "struggling against the odds"

India gang—rape victim "struggling against the odds"

SINGAPORE: The Indian gang—rape victim who has been been admitted to Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital remains in an extremely critical condition.

The 23—year—old student is still receiving treatment in the intensive care unit.

The medical team’s investigations showed that in addition to her prior cardiac arrest, the patient had an infection of her lungs and abdomen, as well as significant brain injury.

According to Dr Kelvin Loh, the chief executive officer of Mount Elizabeth Hospital, the patient is struggling against the odds and fighting for her life.

Since her arrival on Thursday morning, a multi—disciplinary team of specialists has been working to treat her.

The hospital added that the High Commission of India has been fully supportive in helping the hospital and her family, and have also ensured that the best care is made available.

The decision to fly her to Singapore in a special air ambulance was taken at a meeting of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s cabinet on Wednesday, the government having already promised to pay all her medical bills.

But while ministers have insisted that the decision was taken purely on medical grounds, newspapers have suggested that authorities who have struggled to retain nationwide protests over the attack were keen to have her transferred out of the country.

An unnamed doctor who was part of a team of experts consulted about the transfer told The Hindu newspaper that they had only been asked whether it was safe to move her, rather than if it was the best course of action.

"The question was not whether there were any deficiencies in treatment that would be met by moving her... She was being given the best possible care."

Samiran Nundy, chairman of the organ transplant and gastro—surgery department of Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, told the paper that the transfer made little sense.

"I just can’t understand why a critically—ill patient with infection in blood and body, high grade fever and on the ventilator is being transferred," he said.

"It will take weeks in this case to even look into the possibility of an intestinal transplant so why hurry and take the patient out from a facility which works so well. It seems more of a political move."

Singh has ordered an official inquiry into the gang—rape and promised new laws to protect women as well as stiffer penalties for the worst sex crimes.

The government announced on Thursday that it would post the photos, names and addresses of convicted rapists on official websites to publicly shame them. The campaign will begin in Delhi, which has been dubbed India’s "rape capital".

"Our prayers are with the brave young girl. The best possible medical care is being provided to her," the premier told reporters on Friday.

"You have my assurance that our government is committed to bring the guilty to justice as soon as possible."

His comments were echoed by Sonia Gandhi, the leader of the main ruling Congress party and India’s most powerful politician.

"Our only wish today is that the victim recovers and culprits are punished and no time is lost in bringing perpetrators of such barbarous and heinous crimes to book," she said alongside Singh.

Some Facebook users on Channel NewsAsia’s page have asked if there are ways they can help the victim and her family.

As for now, the Indian High Commission is assisting the family.

The hospital has requested privacy of the patient and family to be respected.

— CNA/AFP/xq

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