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Shifting killed her: Experts

DC | Syed Akbar | 30th Dec 2012

Hyderabad: Did shifting the Delhi gang-rape victim to Singapore hasten her death? Health experts feel that shifting a critically ill patient is not medically advisable and the complications she had developed mid-air prove their argument.

City doctors say that Hyderabad has the medical expertise and hospital infrastructure to deal with severely critical patients and add that there was no medically valid reason for shifting the girl for organ transplant, which was not required at that moment.

“A bad medical case is bad anywhere in the world, whether in India, the US or Singapore. The girl should not have been shifted till her condition had stabilised. India has expert doctors and even a government-run hospital like Safdarjung, where the girl was initially admitted, has successfully dealt with several critical cases in the past,” says internal medicine expert Dr Aftab Ahmed.

Many hospitals in leading countries including Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore, where the girl died while undergoing treatment, have a considerable number of Indian doctors on their rolls.

Infectious diseases expert Dr Suneetha Narreddy argues that a critically ill patient should not be shifted from one hospital to another for additional care that would only be required at a later stage. If the girl was shifted for an organ transplant, it was not a good decision as the primary task was to keep her alive. She should have been shifted to Singapore when she really required the transplant.

Dr A.K. Purohit, head of Neurology, Nims, says India has all the facilities and medical expertise and there was no medically valid reason to shift the girl. “Patients from around the world take treatment in India and Indian doctors head several major hospital departments in the world,” he adds.

Dr A.G.K. Gokhale, chief cardiothoracic, transplant and minimal access surgeon, Yashoda Hospital, says, “It was a sensitive issue. I think the government’s decision to move her out of the country was more of a face-saving measure. I do not think anyone anywhere in the world could have done anything for her. And she needed an intestinal transplant, which is not done in our country. Everyone knew her situation was bad but the government did what it could. But at the same time it shows where we stand.”

Experts argue that shifting of a critically ill patient would only result in more trauma and this is what happened in this case.

City doctors also feel that the girl should have been admitted to AIIMS or some corporate hospital in Delhi instead of a government hospital. It is an insult to India and Indian doctors’ expertise, they say, adding that if the government feels India does not have proper medical facilities, it is high time it created them.


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Nicholas's picture
by Nicholas (not verified) on
While Indian doctors think we are the best, as a doctor myself, I can safely say after practicing in western countries, that we are far behind many western countries in terms of expertise, technology and medical care. Yes, Indians head departments overseas, but they also get their REAL medical training like residency and fellowships in the US, not India. In fact, a great majority of Indian medical graduates cannot even analyze a paper in medical literature due to a total lack of focus on research during almost all stages of the Indian education system. I think doctors who did their residency or fellowships in the US will know exactly what I am talking about.
Nripinder's picture
by Nripinder (not verified) on
Yes you are right. What you are saying also has a lot to do with Ethics in general and the value placed on Human Life. Both of these - that is adherence to Ethics and the Value placed on Human Life - are in very short supply in India. Witness the Girl having to lie on the road in the presence of fifty persons in the Nation's Capital till the Police arrived. If we can not have a life support team to respond to medical emergencies in Delhi then where else in India is it possible? Shifting this patient though at this time seems to be a politically heartless decision which of course the Government will try to reason away as being in the best interests of maintaining public order
Damini's picture
by Damini (not verified) on
In the hindsight, it is very easy to say whatever one likes to say. I disagree firsthand with the statements by the quoted experts in this article. Even if the treatment, care and expertise is available in India, Hyderabad - it's mostly available in private sector and not accessible to poor patients like this victim, because her family cannot afford the costs. Let's just face it - it's a fact and nobody's fault. Take a dying patient to Yashoda hospital and the first thing they'll ask you to deposit minimum - again nothing wrong - it's pure business. I only hope I am wrong.
Dr.Gopinath's picture
by Dr.Gopinath (not verified) on
Yes of course private hospitals will want payment - they are commercial organizations, not charity hospitals. But the Goverment would have been ready to pay, I'm sure. They were ready to pay for the chartered Air Ambulance and the Singapore hospital costs, were'nt they?. She could have been stabilized and nursed for a few months here on TPN and then sent wherever it was neccesary for a transplant.
sanman's picture
by sanman (not verified) on
We are a nation of terrible citizens who vote for terrible politicians who do terrible things to us. One day, we may each of us in turn suffer the same thing this girl has.


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