Aruna Shanbaug, a Mumbai nurse who was raped in 1973 by a staff member at the hospital she worked in, has died after being in a coma for 42 years. She was 68.
Shanbaug was in the Intensive Care unit of Mumbai’s state-run King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital. Doctors had said a few days ago that Aruna was suffering from pneumonia and was on ventilator support.
She was 26 years old and a junior nurse at the hospital when she was brutally assaulted and raped by a ward boy and cleaner named Sohanlal Bharta Valmiki, who she had scolded for stealing food that was meant for stray animals adopted by the hospital.
She had just finished her shift, and was in the basement of the hospital changing before leaving for home. Her attacker had been lying in wait. He sodomized her and then strangled her with a dog chain, cutting supply of oxygen to her brain, which resulted in irreversible damage.
She was discovered in the basement 11 hours after she was attacked, blinded and paralysed and with the iron chain around her neck.
From that day on, Aruna became a resident of the hospital. So thorough was the care she got over the four decades that she was bed-ridden, that she did not get bed sores, a fact noted by the Supreme Court in its landmark judgement of 2011, rejecting a petition for euthanasia.
Hope now you can R.I.P Aruna Shanbaug.
Florence Nightingale Award in memory of Nurse Aruna Shanbaug.First awardees:Nursing staff of KEM Hospital – for 42 years of selfless care.
— Shobhaa De (@DeShobhaa) May 18, 2015
In 1973, sodomy was not rape and, so, Aruna Shanbaug’s rapist got off lightly; she remained in a vegetative state for 42 yrs #NeverForget
— Namita Bhandare (@namitabhandare) May 18, 2015
#Respect for the nurses who looked after Aruna Shanbaug for 42 years.No compulsion, no remuneration.Totally selfless service.
— Anita Bhogle (@BhogleAnita) May 18, 2015
Aruna Shanbaug passes away.She never got justice while alive so finally God’s justice prevailed. #RIP
— Sudhir Chaudhary (@sudhirchaudhary) May 18, 2015
RIP Aruna Shanbaug … may you finally find peace in heaven … 🙁 https://t.co/IXWxLk5HZh
— Hitarth تفخر باقان (@Hitarth1987) May 18, 2015
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) May 18, 2015