Monday, February 28, 2011

\'Aruna Shanbaug\'s brain shrivelled after 1973 sexual assault\'

Feb 28, 2011,MUMBAI:

In a hush-hush operation a few years back, KEM Hospital\'s longest staying patient Aruna Shanbaug was gently put through a CT scanner.

The brutality of the sexual assault that left Aruna confined to a hospital bed since November 27, 1973, was, for the first time, revealed in full. Her brain\'s cortex or its grey outermost matter had shrunk. As a doctor who saw the scan report said on condition of anonymity, \"Human brain is superior to the brain of other mammals because it is huge and capable of a range of complex functions.

But Aruna\'s cortex seemed to have shrivelled up.\" The cortex also called the cerebrum is the brain\'s largest centre handling emotions, reasoning, memory, visual and auditory processing, etc. When Sohanlal Bhartha Walmiki tightened a dog chain around Aruna\'s neck in KEM Hospital\'s canine experiment room, he starved her brain cells of oxygen. \"Dead brain cells cannot ever be revived,\" said the doctor.

These findings tie in with the summation of a three-member medical committee that checked Aruna earlier this month. She meets most of the criteria of being in a permanent vegetative state, noted the committee set up under the Supreme Court\'s directive.

The apex court is hearing a case filed on behalf of the petitioner, Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug, by Pinki Virani of Mumbai, as a next friend. About five years back, the US Supreme Court allowed stoppage of feeding for Terri Schiavo, who was in persistent vegetative state for 15 years. Another American, Karen Ann Quinlan, became the first person in a persistent vegetative state whose ventilator support was removed by the court. She continued to breathe on her own and died a decade later on June 11, 1985. While Schiavo\'s husband made the plea to stop food, it was Karen\'s parents who petitioned for removal of the mechanical ventilator.
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