Mumbai: Aruna Shanbaug, the Mumbai nurse who was in coma for 42 years has passed away.
Former King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital nurse Aruna Shanbaug, 66, had been in a vegetative state after she was sexually assaulted by a hospital sweeper on November 27, 1973.
Two days ago, she was put on ventilator support after she developed breathing trouble.
Last year, after a week-long stay in the intensive care unit, Aruna was shifted back to a newly furbished room at the municipal corporation-run KEM Hospital in Parel.
In March 2011, the Supreme Court had rejected a petition filed by former journalist and author Pinki Virani, who had sought mercy killing (euthanasia) for Aruna Shanbaug, which the KEM hospital's management and nursing staff had opposed.
Virani had narrated the story of the ailing nurse in her 1998 non-fiction book called 'Aruna's Story', while Duttakumar Desai wrote the Marathi play, 'Katha Arunachi' in 1994-95, which was staged under director Vinay Apte in 2002.
Aruna Shanbaug hailed from Haldipur in Karnataka and had come to Mumbai after she landed a job as a nurse at KEM Hospital. She stayed with her sister Shanta Nayak for at least a month at the Worli chawl and would visit them regularly until the horrific incident took place.
Shanbaug was admitted in the hospital after she was assaulted and strangulated by a KEM Hospital ward boy Sohan Lal Valmiki on November 27, 1973. Sohan Lal tied a dog's leash around her neck and yanked her, following which oxygen supply to her brain was affected and she suffered brain damage.
Aruna's sole relative, her sister Shanta Nayak, died in September 2013. Hospital employees say her relatives had stopped visiting her few years after the incident. Since then, the nurses and doctors took care of her.