Fingers crossed at ICU

Custody

Victim's condition slips after signs of improvement early in the day

For a short period on Tuesday morning, doctors at Safdarjung Hospital, who have been monitoring the 23-year-old gangrape victim, were hopeful when they noticed signs of some improvement in her condition. But by afternoon, those hopes began to fade as her condition deteriorated.

The strength of ventilator support for the woman was increased after doctors noticed a sharp drop in her platelet count and increase in her blood pressure and pulse rate around 3 pm. The condition, doctors said, could be an indication of infection in her body.

Dr B D Athani, Medical Superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital, said: "In the morning, she was drifting in and out of consciousness. She was communicating with us through handwritten notes. By afternoon, her vitals dropped significantly and we had to increase the extent of ventilator support. She also slid out of consciousness."

Doctors in the surgery team said that by 4 pm, her platelet count dropped to 48,000/uL of blood (against a normal of 150,000- 450,000/uL) and her blood pressure shot up.

"We operated on her on Sunday night, right after her basic medical examination, to repair the intestine the best we could. But the injuries were so extensive that the threat of infection was always a worry," a surgeon said.

The victim is on high dose of antibiotics and if her condition stabilises, doctors will consider a surgery to control the infection. "We have also put her on a steady dose of morphine for relief from the extreme pain she is in," the surgeon said.

She has been isolated in the ICU to minimise risk of infection from visitors. "Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, National Commission for Women Chairperson Mamta Sharma and BJP leader Smriti Irani came to see the victim, but did not go inside the ICU. Only the treating doctors are being allowed inside. Her mother has been allowed in a few times," Dr Athani said.

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