Aruna Shanbaug, a former nurse at KEM Hospital who was brutally sexually assaulted by a ward boy at the hospital 42 years ago and had been lying in a vegetative state ever since, passed away today.
The 66-year-old was battling for her life after suffering a serious bout of pneumonia and was on ventilator support since then, sources at the hospital stated.
She was in the medical ICU of the hospital located in Mumbai`s Parel area.
Shanbaug was diagnosed with lung infection after a series of diagnostic tests and was being fed through tubes.
On November 27, 1973, while working as a junior nurse at KEM Hospital, she was sexually assaulted by a ward boy named Sohanlal Bhartha Walmiki. Walmiki had also strangled her with a dog chain, cutting off oxygen supply to her brain.
On 24 January 2011, 38 years after the horrific incident, the Supreme Court responded to the plea for euthanasia filed by Aruna`s friend, journalist Pinki Virani, by setting up a medical panel to examine her condition.
The mercy petition was turned down on March 7, 2011.
Virani had narrated the story of the ailing nurse, who hailed from Haldipur in Uttar Kannada, in her 1998 non-fiction book called `Aruna`s Story`, while a Marathi play was written by Duttakumar Desai, `Katha Arunachi` in 1994?95, which was staged under director Vinay Apte in 2002.
Meanwhile, municipal authorities have asked Shanbaug`s relatives to contact the hospital staff. The deceased nurse`s last known relative, a sister, passed away a few years ago.