Sunday, March 6, 2011

SC rules former nurse Aruna Shanbaug can't die

The Supreme Court on Monday had rejected Pinky Virani’s euthanasia plea on behalf of King Edward Memorial Hospital nurse Aruna Shanbaug.
Shanbaug, now 60, has been in Ward Number 4 of the civic-run KEM hospital since November 23, 1973, when she was attacked and raped by a ward boy at the hospital who had a personal grudge against her. She had just finished her shift that night and was preparing to go home. The attack left Shanbaug paralysed; she also lost her ability to speak. The case sparked off a strike of nurses in Bombay who began demanding better working conditions.
Over the last four years, all of Shanbaug’s batchmates have retired and moved on. But taking care of Shanbaug has more or less become institutionalised at the hospital. Shanbaug’s family abandoned her, but the staff of KEM stepped in.
KEM nurses say that Shanbaug is conscious and aware and able to respond partially, especially when she is fed fish. “We take turns to look after her over three shifts in the ward,”a nurse said.

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