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Singapore: Doctors in Singapore battle to save Delhi rape victim, she's in 'critical condition'


Singapore, (Agencies):

Doctors in Singapore battled on Thursday to save the life of the 23-year-old Delhi gang-rape victim who was dramatically airlifted overnight from a hospital in New Delhi. As Prime Minister vowed that the attackers of the 23-year-old would face swift justice, doctors at Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital described her condition in the intensive care unit as "extremely critical".

"She is being examined and the hospital is working with the Indian High Commission (embassy)," the hospital added in a brief statement.

Battling for life for the last 11 days, the 23-year-old victim was flown in Singapore on Thursday and was admitted to a multi-organ transplant specialty hospital.

The victim, who remained on ventilator support during most part of her treatment in Safdarjung hospital in Delhi, was brought in Singapore in an air ambulance early Thursday morning. A team of doctors and her family members accompanied her.

"The patient arrived at Mount Elizabeth Hospital's Intensive Care Unit this morning in an extremely critical condition," a spokesperson of the hospital said.

"She is being examined and the hospital is working with the Indian High Commission. We request that the privacy of the patient and family be respected," the spokesperson said.

Earlier, the Indian High Commission in Singapore said that the plane carrying the girl landed at the Changi International Airport at 7.30 AM (5 AM IST).

The decision to shift the girl was taken at the highest level of the Indian government, which has declared that it will bear all the expenses of her treatment.

In a statement, the High Commission said that the girl is receiving full medical attention at the hospital.

"We assure all concerned that the patient is receiving full medical attention and the family is also being provided all possible assistance by the High Commission," it said.

The High Commission has also conveyed to the hospital and the family request for privacy of the patient and the family be respected.

"We have received numerous queries regarding the condition of the patient and also many offers to help. We are deeply grateful for all of these offers," the statement said.

"At this stage, we would request that the privacy of the patient, family members as also of the medical team in attendance is fully respected so that the treatment may continue smoothly," the statement added.

The government, which is paying for the woman's treatment, approved the decision to transfer her from Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital where she had been treated since the December 16 assault on a bus in the centre of the capital.

Visa arrangements were also fast-tracked to enable the victim's relatives to keep watch over her in Singapore.

"The hospital and the family have requested that the privacy of the patient and the family be respected," said a statement from the high commission.

According to police and prosecutors, six men took turns to rape the woman and assault her with an iron bar, leaving her with intestinal injuries, before they threw her out of a bus that they had taken to reach their residences.

While doctors in Singapore did not give details about the treatment she has received since her early morning arrival, their counterparts at Safdarjung said Mount Elizabeth had been chosen as it has a multi-organ transplant facility.

BD Athani, medical superintendent at Safdarjung Hospital, told reporters the woman had already undergone three operations in New Delhi.

"With fortitude and courage she has survived the after-effects of the injuries so far but her condition continues to be critical," Athani added.

The gang-rape has prompted widespread street protests across the country, not only in revulsion at the savage nature of the attack but also because it tapped into simmering anger at the level of violence against women.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told a gathering of chief ministers from across India on Thursday that there was a "problem" which "requires greater attention" by the central and state governments. He promised to review laws on women's safety.

Six men are in custody in connection with the assault. Singh, whose government has been stung by criticism about the notoriously slow Indian justice system, said their case would be dealt with swiftly.

"The culprits have been apprehended and the law will deal with them expeditiously," he said.

The government has already set up a commission of inquiry into the attack while a separate panel has been asked to suggest changes in the laws to make punishment for such horrific crimes stiffer.

"Laws regarding the safety of women will be reviewed," Singh said.

(With PTI, AFP inputs)

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