Authorities at the King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital appear to be clueless about the 'official status' of its former nurse Aruna Shanbaug, who lay there for 42 years in a vegetative state after suffering a brutal sexual assault till her death earlier this week.
The hospital management, however, are making frantic efforts to trace service records of Aruna, who was seen as the face of a debate on euthanasia and whose death after the gruelling ordeal was deeply mourned across the nation.
"We are trying to find out the details of Aruna's service. Since this incident took place 42 years back no one knows about the status of her job," Hospital Dean, Dr Avinash Supe, told PTI. Asked how many days it may take to trace her service record, Supe said, "It will take probably one week. "
The officials are checking whether Aruna had been relieved from the job after she fell victim to the sexual assault in 1973 or she remained an employee till her retirement date, a hospital official, requesting anonymity, said.
Aruna was assumed to be on the payroll of the hospital till 2006, when she was to retire had she been working at KEM normally, the official said. They are also trying to find out her salary details besides such service benefits such as provident fund, in case she was not relieved from her job.
However, being an old case, officials are finding it difficult to trace her service records. "Not a single staff now working with KEM was in service with us at the time of that horrifying incident. The case is very old... hence KEM and Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC) may find it difficult to trace the information," sources at the hospital run by the civic body said.
BMC Additional Commissioner Sanjay Deshmukh could not be reached for comment.