NEW DELHI- A last-ditch battle has been mounted to save Nirbhaya. Late on Wednesday night, the rape victim was flown in a special air ambulance to Singapore where she will be taken to the Mount Elizabeth hospital, a top-notch critical care medical centre. Meanwhile the government said on Thursday that it will post the photos, names and addresses of convicted rapists on official websites to publicly shame them, in a new measure to combat growing crime against women.
“Her health is precarious, that’s the main issue before the government,” said a Union minister, not wanting to be identified. Doctors at Safdarjung Hospital where Nirbhaya was being treated for the last one week were hesitant to hold out hope. “Still, the fight to save her is just as strong,” said a doctor.
Safdarjung Hospital sources said Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth is equipped to deal with trauma and serious medical complications. It is also capable of carrying out multiple organ transplants. It is understood that Amar Singh’s kidney transplant took place at this hospital.
Niirbhaya is being accompanied by Dr P K Verma, incharge of Safdarjung Hospital’s ICU, who is leading a team of doctors, many of them from Medanta. Her father and mother are also accompanying her. Three air ambulances have been pressed into service – two of Safdarjung Hospital’s and one of Medanta’s.
The decision to take Nirbhaya to Singapore is understood to have been taken at the highest level. The Union cabinet discussed her worsening health condition on Wednesday morning and considered options for her medical care abroad. Government is also concerned about fresh protests if the worst can’t be averted, and is therefore keen to be seen to be doing its very best to save Nirbhaya.
The flight to Singapore will be 6-hours long. Nirbhaya’s condition worsened last night when she suffered a cardiac arrest and was revived after administration of CPR (cardiac pulmonary resusication). Through Wednesday, doctors at Safdarjung hospital struggled to fight the infection
seeping through her body.
Sources said the government has been considering the possibility of an intestine transplant but Nirbhaya can undergo this only after the sepsis threatening to overwhelm her weakened immune system recedes. Moving Nirbhaya abroad will also mean that Safdarjung hospital is no longer a focus of protestors and media attention.
As word of Nirbhaya’s impending transfer spread, the crowd outside the hospital began to swell as protestors began to arrive along with BJP state chief Vidender Gupta. The victim was shifted from Safdarjung hospital in a Medanta ambulance, from the Gurgaon-based multi-speciality hospital run by heart surgeon Naresh Trehan. A team from Medanta also examined Nirbhaya on Wednesday.
Speculation mounted earlier in the evening as for the first time in several days, there was no official word on Nirbhaya’s medical condition.
Doctors did not issue a health bulletin and media persons were awaiting official word on her condition. Nirbhaya’s family members were also unavailable for information.
Nirbhaya’s health concerns loomed in the backdrop of plans for a protest march by women’s groups on Thursday that had police on tenterhooks. Another round of protests could precipitate a fresh confrontation with the government.
Finance minister P Chidambaram, who briefed the media after the Cabinet meeting, identified the problem as a “new phenomenon” of “flash mobs” resorting to protests and the government not being fully prepared to deal with such situations.