NEW DELHI, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- An Indian student who was gang raped and brutally beaten by six men in a moving New Delhi bus was flown to Singapore for advanced treatment, her doctors said.
The 23-year-old victim, whose condition has remained critical ever since the Dec. 16 incident with occasional signs of improvement while on ventilator support and following surgeries at New Delhi Safdarjung Hospital, will be treated at Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital, which is known for its expertise in multiple transplants.
The tragic event and the girl's suffering have left the entire nation outraged and in a state of shock. Tens of thousands of New Delhi citizens, praying for her recovery, have been protesting continuously to demand better safety for women, virtually shutting down much of the Indian capital. All the six accused have been arrested.
A New Delhi policeman on duty at the protest site died on Christmas Day after the demonstrations turned violent.
The Indian Express newspaper reported a private air ambulance with ventilator facility flew out of New Delhi around midnight Wednesday with the rape victim, her parents and seven others including the head of the hospital's critical care unit and other doctors.
The report quoted sources as saying the Indian government decided to take her to Singapore after the victim, battling infections, developed cardiovascular complications late Wednesday. A noted New Delhi cardiovascular surgeon reportedly said she was stable enough to withstand the flight.
Her doctors had earlier said she might need an intestinal transplant.
After the flight took off, B.D. Athani, medical superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital, told reporters the victim had been given "the best of the available medical aid" during her 10-day treatment.
"With fortitude and courage, the girl survived the after-effects of the injuries so far well. But the condition continues to be critical. Based on the advice of a team of doctors, the government of India has made arrangements for the patient being shifted in a well-equipped air ambulance," Athani was quoted as saying.
He said Singapore was chosen because it is close to India and its hospital has a state-of-the-art multi-organ transplant facility. Athani said the treatment might take weeks.
CNN-IBN television channel reported the flight arrived in Singapore early Thursday.
Among surgeries already performed on the rape victim at the New Delhi hospital was one to remove her gangrenous intestine resulting from her abdominal injuries.
Outlook magazine quoted official sources as saying the Indian government would bear all expenses of the rape victim's treatment in Singapore.
Police say the woman and her male companion boarded the privately run bus while waiting at a bus stop on the fateful night. There were six others in the bus at the time.
Once inside the vehicle, which had tinted windows with drawn curtains, all the six men including one of the drivers turned on the couple and mercilessly beat them, police said. The woman was then raped by the men and suffered more beatings in the moving bus. Later, she and her companion were stripped and thrown out of the vehicle, police said.
The two were found by highway patrol and taken to hospital. She was reported to have lost much blood. Her companion, a software engineer, is recovering from his injuries.
The government has promised a number of measures to improve security for women and suspended some of the erring police officers.