Renowned cardiovascular surgeon Dr Naresh Trehan, who had checked the 23-year-old gangrape victim before she was taken to Singapore, today strongly defended the decision to shift her saying it was done only to stablise her condition and not for any immediate intestinal transplant.
Trehan, the Managing Director of Medanta Medicity that helped setting up an Intensive Care Unit aboard the air ambulance in which the victim was flown, said he had never seen such "brutality inflicted" on a person in his career and he still could not accept the "gravity of the crime".
Majority part of the intestine of the victim was removed during her treatment at Safdarjung Hospital and when she was airlifted to Singapore, it was speculated that she was sent there for an intestinal transplant.
"Doctors at Safdarjung treated her the best possible way they could do. She had lost her intestine and everyone was praying that one day she will be ready as a candidate for an intestinal transplant. Transplant is a long journey," he said, adding that at that juncture she was not in any condition for a transplant.
Trehan, who said the girl has to be admired for her spirit, was speaking at a press conference to give details about the country's first intestinal transplant at his hospital conducted in November-end.
Everyone, including the Government, was "shaken" over this case and all one could think then was what can be done for this girl, he said.
"Doctors were doing the best they can do. Then they thought of the centres for long-term transplant. If someone asks was the girl alive when she was transported, the answer is yes," he said.
The girl, who was gangraped and brutally assaulted in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16 and thrown out of the vehicle, died at Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital on December 29 after battling for life for 13 days.
"She was sent (to Singapore) more to stablise her (condition) and help her get through the ordeal and not for an immediate intestinal transplant," he said, answering a flurry of questions on the issue.
Trehan, who diagnosed the girl at the Safdarjung Hospital, was at pains to explain that intestinal transplants can be conducted on a patient only on a long-term basis and that the person has to be put on TPN (Total Parental Nutrition) for at least a couple of months before the surgery.
More than once, Trehan said the "brutality" was such that it could be called as "rarest of the rarest of the rare" case and everyone including the government was focused only on getting her some better treatment if it was "existing somewhere in the world."
"We had conducted an intestinal transplant before (the girl was brutally assaulted), but she was not needing it then because of the brutality of the crime...When people make statement they should be responsible," Trehan said in response to queries on a city hospital offering to perform a surgery on the girl when she was alive.
Noting that the girl was "very sick", Trehan said shifting her does not mean hospitals in India lack infrastructure or experience to handle such cases, while asserting that the Mount Elizabeth Hospital specialised in treating patients with trauma of this magnitude.
In this context, he said Medanta receives number of heart patients from across the globe, including the US, because of the specialisation that the hospital does.
The cardiac surgeon said the family was "desirous" on the girl being moved anywhere in the world for better treatment and that doctors also thought they can provide her the best possible treatment available.
Trehan said the girl was flown to Singapore after several doctors from various hospitals treated her and decided that she be sent for advanced treatment.
He said the government asked him whether his hospital could help in taking the victim to Singapore, but it was never suggested that she be shifted from Safdarjung to Medanta hospital.