The 23-year-old girl, battling for life for the past 10 days at Safdarjung hospital after being brutally gangraped here, was tonight flown to Singapore in an air ambulance for specialised treatment in a premier hospital.
The girl, who continues to be in a critical condition, will be admitted to Mount Elizabeth hospital, which has a state-of-the-art facility for multi-organ transplant, Dr B D
Athani, Medical Superintindent of the Safdarjung Hospital, told reporters.
The private chartered air ambulance belonging to ARE Airways, which is equipped with sophisticated ICU facilities, took off at around 11.45 PM.
Dr Yatin Gupta, Head of the Critical Care Unit(CCU) at the Safdarjung hospital and a team of four doctors along with the girl's parents are accompanying the girl.
Official sources said passport and Singapaore visa for the girl and some of her family members who will accompany her in the air ambulance were expedited by the External Affairs Ministry.
The sources said the Indian High Commission in Singapore has been asked by the government here to render all assistance for the girl.
Sources said the decision to shift the girl to Singapore was taken at the highest level of the government.
Dr Athani said based on the advice of a team of doctors, the Government of India has made arrangements for the patient to be shifted in a well-equipped air ambulance which will entail minimum travel. The flying time between Delhi and Singapore is five-and-a-half hours.
"The team of doctors decided that the patient be shifted to Mount Elizabeth Hospital (in Singapore). The said hospital has the state-of-the-art facility for multi-organ transplant. The treatment might take longer," he said.
Stating that the girl has suffered severe intestinal and abdominal injuries, he said more than once that the girl would have to undergo treatment in Singapore which could take several weeks. Parts of the girl's
intestine were surgically removed.
"She was being provided the best available aid by a team of specialised doctors. She had to be operated upon thrice," he said.
He suggested that Singapore was chosen as the destination for the treatment as it was closer from India and the hospital has state-of-the-art multi-organ transplant facility.
The girl has remained on ventilator support during most part of her treatment here since she was admitted to Safdarjung hospital on December 16 after she was gang-raped in a moving bus that night in South Delhi that sparked a nation-wide outrage.
A meeting of the Union Cabinet presided by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier in the day mulled various options on further treatment of the victim but left it to doctors to take a final decision.
Official sources said government will bear all expenses of the girl's treatment in Singapore.
The victim, whom doctors described as "psychologically composed and optimistic about future", had shown signs of improvement during treatment but her condition worsened late last night after her pulse rate
plummeted for a brief period. The periodic bouts of infection were also a source of concern for the doctors.
Earlier, PCR vans escorted the ambulance from Safdarjung hospital.
Official sources said passport and Singapaore visa for the girl and some of her family members who will accompany her in the air ambulance was handed over to her tonight after it was facilitated by the External Affairs Ministry.
Asked after a Union Cabinet meeting whether the victim could be taken abroad for treatment, Finance Minister P Chidambaram earlier in the day said she is not in a condition to move but it all depends on doctors.
Despite the violence that she underwent, the girl was "physcologically fit and sound" with doctors calling her a very brave girl who was concerned about her future.
During her 10-day stay in the ICU of the hospital, the girl was administered plasma-rich platelets and blood to keep her vital parameters stable.
The victim's father said the family had not been informed where the girl was being taken and that they were just told to board the aircraft.
"We don't know anything. We don't know where we are going. All we have been told is we are going abroad. Me, my wife and the entire family is going with her (the girl)," he said. The entire family are being flown to Singapore with the victim.
The condition of the victim deteriorated last night as her pulse rate reduced considerably but it recovered soon.
She, however, continues to be critical but stable, doctors attending on her said today. She continues to be on ventilator support in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
The medical bulletin on her health by the doctors at Safdarjung hospital, where she is being treated, was postponed twice as top heart specialists attended on her.
According to sources, her condition had deteriorated late last night as she had suffered from
"bradycardia", with her pulse rate reducing, but she recovered within minutes.
Sources said her pulse rate has suddenly reduced to below 50 per minute but recovered within five minutes.
"Her condition continues to be critical but stable," a senior doctor said while confirming her bradycardia condition last night.
Top health specialists, including Naresh Trehan, were attending on the girl and held consultations with the panel of doctors looking into her health condition.
The medical bulletin on the victim's health was to be issued at 4.30 PM but it was postponed to 6.30 PM, only to be put off again by the hospital administration.
Senior health officials, including the Director General of Health Services, held consultation with doctors attending on
Sources said the decision to shift the girl to Singapore was taken at the highest level of the government and noted that all necessary travel documents were provided at the shortest possible time.
The Union Health Ministry earlier contacted a hospital in Singapore.
The sources said government will bear all expenses of the girl's treatment in Singapore.
A few doctors are also flying with the girl.
The victim, whom doctors described as "psychologically composed and optimistic about future", had shown signs of improvement during treatment but her condition worsened late last night after her pulse rate plummetted for a brief period.
The paramedical student was gangraped and brutally assaulted allegedly by six youth, including a minor, in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16 night and her male friend was badly beaten up when he tried to protect her. They had boarded the bus from Munirka area at around 9:15 pm.
Eager to live and see that her rapists punished, she had recorded her statement twice -- first time on December 21 before Sub Divisional Magistrate and December 24 before Metropolitan Magistrate.
The second statement was necessitated after Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit alleged that police "interfered" with the process of recording of victim's statement.
"I want to live...Have they been caught," she had asked her mother.
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