'Outside were the protests. Inside we were fighting to save her'
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It was around 11 pm on December 16, 2012, that the 23-year-old was wheeled into the busy Safdarjung Hospital emergency. Bruised, bleeding and drifting in and out of consciousness, she only had a single piece of cloth wrapped around her shivering frame against the winter night. Green curtain screens were immediately pulled around her bed, and she was wrapped in hospital sheets by nurses, as the first of the doctors rushed in.
The Delhi gangrape victim would stay in that hospital for 11 days, before being shifted to Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital.
A year later, the doctors haven't forgotten "the girl". "It was the X-ray that first alerted us to the extent of the assault. We did a basic abdominal X-ray and were shocked because we could not find her gut. I could not imagine what had happened to her intestines. I remember wondering if the machine needed repairs or if I was going blind," a doctor who was among the first to examine her recalled. The X-ray showed that she had barely two-three inches of intestines against the normal female adult intestines of about 20-22 feet.
Senior surgeons were called, and she was rushed into surgery for an examination of her internal wounds. At the end of the three-hour-long procedure, lasting till 2 am on December 17, they realised that the victim's intestines had been pulled out in the assault.
Repeating her initial assessment from then, of this case being "so much more than a rape", a senior gyanecologist at the hospital says, "In rape, even gangrape cases, at the most we see genital tears. Even those are very serious debilitating injuries. But such a case where the patient's entire gut was pulled out we had never seen, even though we have one of the largest gynaecology departments."