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‘Gangrape victim was shifted to Singapore as organ transplants unavailable at Safdarjung Hospital’

The medical superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital,deposed before the fast-track court of Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna,in a hearing of the December 16 gangrape trial on Tuesday.

The medical superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital,deposed before the fast-track court of Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna,in a hearing of the December 16 gangrape trial on Tuesday.

During his cross-examination by advocate Vivek Sharma,counsel for accused Pawan Gupta,the medical superintendent said the decision to transfer her to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore was taken as it provides the facility of organ transplant and has the “best critical care”. “The organ transplant facility is still not available in Safdarjung hospital. I have no knowledge if the facility is available in Medanta hospital,” the doctor said.

The Singapore hospital was ready to treat the 23-year-old woman. “Doctors [from Delhi had contacted the doctors at Mount Elizabeth and they were ready to accept the patient in such a condition,” he said.

The doctor said the government was concerned about the medical management of the victim and that the Lok Sabha Secretary had written to the hospital,asking doctors to give her the best healthcare facilities. He said he had not sought permission from the ministry to shift the patient.

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“There was no time for us to take formal permission from the Health Ministry to shift the patient abroad. Since the government was concerned about the medical management of the victim and to provide the best healthcare facilities,the team of doctors attending to her decided to shift her abroad,” he told the court.

Earlier,the lawyers of the accused had claimed that the victim had died in the hospital in Delhi and she was shifted to Singapore just to mislead the public. Vivek Sharma alleged that the victim was administered morphine even though Safdarjung hospital was “not authorised to do so without seeking the permission of the Health Ministry”.

The lawyer said only three hospitals in Delhi — Escorts,Sir Gangaram and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) — are authorised to administer morphine and that all other hospitals,including Safdarjung,are required to seek permission from the Ministry of Health before administering the drug. The doctor,however,denied this.

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The doctor told the court that the victim had various injuries on her face when she was admitted to the hospital. “I would ask her questions and she would respond by gestures,” he said.

Advocate V K Anand on Tuesday approached the court with a vakaltnama on behalf of accused Mukesh. Mukesh has changed his counsel for the third time since the trial began. The court accepted his request.

First published on: 24-04-2013 at 01:25 IST
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