Delhi rape victim was moved to Singapore for political – not medical – reasons

Jyoti Singh Pandey, the victim of the horrendous rape and violence in Delhi on 16th December, has not been served very well by the Indian Government – in life or in her dying. Just to avoid having her die in the heart of Delhi she was thrown away by a cowardly government to die far away. It was Pilate all over again as the government tried to wash their hands of her death on their watch.

From Safdarganj Hospital in Delhi she was flown to Singapore on Boxing Day to the Mount Elizabeth Hospital which specialises in multi-organ transplant. The 4,000 km journey in an ambulance flight was made even though the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) is just one street-width away from Safdarganj Hospital and has itself a well deserved reputation for excellence. At the time I thought that it was a caring Government which had made the decision to take every possible action to try and save Jyoti’s life – but it appears that this was not so at all. It now begins to become clear that this was the action of a cowardly administration which just did not want her to be in the heart of Delhi when she died. Her life was already forfeit. It was an attempt at damage control. It was almost as callous an act of “throwing her away” to die far away in Singapore as that of the 6 rapists who threw her off that bus. It was entirely a political decision of an embattled and scared Government.

There was no real medical expectation that any intestinal transplant could even be contemplated to be done in Singapore. That was just a theoretical possibility and the cover story for political purposes. She had been written off before the move was made. The decision to move her was apparently made after a Cabinet meeting but I wonder which cowardly Minister(s) came up with this damage limitation plan?

Reuters reports:

… With a deadly infection seeping into her blood from damage done to her intestines during the assault, complicated by a cardiac arrest and damage to the brain, she was just clinging to life when she was flown 2,500 miles from New Delhi to Singapore late on December 26, doctors said.

“It was ethically and morally wrong to have taken her out, given that she was sinking and her chances of survival were next to zero at that stage,” said a doctor at New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), which was advising the team treating the woman at a sister hospital across the street.

“Such a thing raises false hopes in the minds of the family, the community. No doctor in his right mind would do this, unless you want to get the patient off your back,” said the doctor, who declined to be identified, saying colleagues at the government-run hospital who had spoken out had been warned of consequences in what has become a politically explosive case. ….

….. Another doctor who was consulted during the woman’s care at New Delhi’s Safdarjang hospital, where she was taken following the assault, said she had been getting the best possible treatment in India and the question of why she was shifted should be answered by the government.

Many security officials have said they feared the protests would escalate if the woman had died in New Delhi, but the government has said the only consideration was her wellbeing. …..

…… At the time of the transfer, authorities at Safdarjang said her condition was critical which was why they decided to move her to Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital, which specialized in multi-organ transplant.

But a transplant for her damaged intestine, if at all possible, was months away, doctors said. At the time of her transfer, the woman, unconscious since a heart attack the previous night, was in no condition to go through such an operation.

“One cannot think about intestinal transplant at this moment,” Samiran Nundy, the head of surgical gastroenterology and organ transplantation at the Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi, was quoted as saying in newspapers.

“First, the infection spreading in her should be stopped, then one can think about transplant.”

Within 40 hours of her arrival in Singapore, doctors called her family and told them the end was near, even as millions prayed at home in the hope that she would pull through.

“Sepsis followed by cardiac arrest is a terminal event in 99 percent of cases,” said the doctor at AIIMS, referring to blood infection.

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