Indian Rape Victim is “Fighting for Her Life”

Posted December 28th, 2012 at 8:55 am (UTC-5)
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A Singapore hospital treating the Indian student who was brutally gang-raped in New Delhi says the young woman is fighting for her life and has suffered a “significant brain injury.”

The CEO of Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Dr. Kelvin Loh, issued a statement early Friday saying the 23-year-old woman is “struggling against all odds” and continues to remain in “extremely critical condition.” He said upon her arrival in Singapore from India Wednesday, a medical team's investigations found that “in addition to her prior cardiac arrest, she had infection of her lungs and abdomen, as well as significant brain injury.”

Loh said a multi-disciplinary team of specialists at the Singapore hospital “has been working tirelessly to treat her since her arrival, and is doing everything possible to stabilize her condition over the next few days.”

The woman was traveling on a charter bus in the Indian capital on December 16, when a group of men on board raped and beat her with an iron rod and then threw her from the bus.

Police have arrested six alleged attackers, who are accused of rape and attempted murder.

The woman was airlifted to Singapore from a New Delhi hospital on Wednesday, a move that was drawing criticism from medical experts in India.

Dr. Samiran Nundy, chairman of the organ transplant and gastro-surgery department of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, told The Hindu the transfer of the critically-ill woman from an Indian hospital where she received good care made little sense and “seems more of a political move.”

Medical experts who were consulted by the government before the woman's transfer told the Indian newspaper that they were only asked if it was safe to move the victim, not if it was medically advisable.

A member of the Indian team who cared for her, Dr. Mahesh Chandra Misra with All India Institute of Medical Sciences, told The New York Times that the woman's injuries were severe and that she was “practically dead” when she was brought into Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi.

Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke out on the case again Friday, saying he and the leader of the ruling Congress Party, Sonia Gandhi, “share the anguish and anger of the country over this heinous crime.” He also said the government is “committed to bringing the guilty to justice as soon as possible.”

Gandhi told reporters in New Delhi that “our only wish today is that she recovers and that she comes back to us and that no time is lost in bringing the perpetrators of such (a) barbarous act to justice.”

The government on Wednesday announced a commission that will review police response to the attack, while another panel is tasked with suggesting ways to make the capital safer for women as well as changes to the law to create stiffer penalties for such crimes.

In northern India, officials say a 17-year-old Indian girl from Punjab state who was gang raped in November has killed herself after police pressured her to drop the case and marry one of her attackers.

Before her death Wednesday, there had been no arrests in her case. Officials say three people were arrested on Thursday.