A Mumbai nurse who was in a coma for 42 years after being sexually assaulted while working in a hospital has died, hospital authorities said Monday.
Aruna Shanbaug suffered severe brain damage and was in a vegetative state after she was raped and strangled by a hospital worker in 1973.
Shanbaug was diagnosed with pneumonia last week and had been on a life support system for the past few days, said Pravin Bangar, medical superintendent at Mumbai’s King Edward Memorial Hospital.
Shanbaug was diagnosed with pneumonia last week and had been on a life support system for the past few days
Aruna Shanbaug suffered severe brain damage and was in a vegetative state after she was raped and strangled by a hospital worker in 1973
Shanbaug’s case sparked a debate over India’s euthanasia laws after a Mumbai-based author and friend of the nurse petitioned the courts to stop force-feeding her through a tube so her suffering would not be prolonged.
India’s Supreme Court rejected the petition filed by Pinki Virani who had sought euthanasia for Shanbaug, saying the court should ‘end her unbearable agony.’
The case was opposed by nurses at the hospital who took turns taking care of her for more than four decades after Shanbaug’s family said they were unable to support her.
Virani told the DB: ‘My broken, battered baby bird finally flew away. And she gave India a passive euthanasia law before doing so.’
Aruna, a native of Haldipur in Karnataka, had joined KEM Hospital as a junior nurse in the seventies.
On the night of November 27, 1973, sweeper Sohanlal Bhartha Walmiki attacked her when she had to gone to change in the vacant canine experiment room of the hospital.
To overpower Aruna, Walmiki used a dog chain to choke and sexually assault her. The choking permanently damaged her brain cells, leaving her in vegetative state and partially blind.
Culprit Walmiki was booked for robbery and attempt to murder, as the doctors then did not think it appropriate to include sexual assault charges to save Aruna from facing social stigma.
Walmiki was convicted, and after serving his sentence, he is said to have moved to Delhi.