The Maharashtra government has decided to name a prominent institution in Thane after nurse Aruna Shanbaug, the world’s oldest comatose patient, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced on Tuesday.
“Maharashtra government decided give late Aruna Shanbaug’s name to Nursing Training School, Thane,” Fadnavis tweeted.
“Our infinite salutes to her spirit,” he added of the 67-year old nurse hailing from Haldipur, Karnataka, who died on Monday and was given a tearful farewell.
In a related development, nurses of the KEM Hospital in south Mumbai, where Shanbaug lay in coma for 42 years, have urged the BMC authorities to convert the Ward No.4A into a memorial after her.
Shanbaug was a nurse at the same hospital and planning to get married to a medico working there before she fell victim to a brutal attack by a contract sweeper on November 27, 1973.
The hospital nurses not only looked after Shanbaug with dedication for over four decades, but also fought attempts by the hospital and civic authorities to evict her from that ward.
As she lay in a vegetative state in that ward, her plight inspired major changes in Indian laws and ‘passive euthanasia’ was permitted by the Supreme Court.
Presently, the hospital authorities have kept a garlanded photograph of Shanbaug in the tiny ward where many nurses and others came to pay their homage on Tuesday.
The hospital authorities are also toying with the idea of naming the room after Shanbaug and then continue treating patients there without blocking a bed in space-starved Mumbai.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Madhya Pradesh government announced an award of Rs.100,000 in honour of the nurse to be given to any organisation working against exploitation of women.
Stating that whatever happened with Shanbaug was painful, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan described her as a “symbol of respect”.