A demonstrator holds a placard as she takes part in a protest rally in New Delhi on Dec 27, 2012. India's external Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, responding to a growing controversy over the move to send the 23-year-old gang rape victim to Singapore fo
A demonstrator holds a placard as she takes part in a protest rally in New Delhi Thursday. India's external-affairs minister Salman Khurshid, responding to a growing controversy over the move to send the now-deceased 23-year-old gang-rape victim to Singapore from Delhi for treatment, said it was a "purely a medical decision." Reuters

Cerebral edema and significant brain damage proved fatal for the 23-year-old Indian woman who had valiantly fought for her life after being brutally gang-raped in a moving bus in Delhi. The woman died of multi-organ failure triggered by brain damage and infection at Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital Saturday morning.

On her arrival at the Singapore hospital Thursday, the woman was subjected to a C.T. scan and was detected with a significant brain damage that led to the cerebral edema (swelling of brain).

Cerebral edema is a common response to a brain injury resulting from oxygen deprivation, according to the medical journals. In this situation, there will be more fluid or water in the skull than it should be, and this leads to the swelling of the brain. The swelling of the brain increases the pressure on the skull and cuts off the blood flow to the brain and kills the brain cells with fatal consequences.

The reasons for such oxygen deprivation to the brain vary and include cardiac arrest, inadequate blood flow, histotoxic causes like poisoning and trauma to brain and body as in strangulation and can occur at high altitudes in the absence of oxygen and low blood flow.

The brain damage happened Wednesday when the woman suffered a cardiac arrest while she was in India, according to the Singapore hospital. The doctors had failed to detect the pulse rate or blood pressure for about three minutes when she suffered the cardiac attack. The loss of blood supply for three minutes caused the brain injury, according to the doctors who treated her. This coupled with the infection from the injuries led to the multi-organ failure.

The woman was surviving against the odds and her condition had remained extremely critical for the past three days, according to the doctors at the Singapore hospital.

"She was courageous in fighting for her life for so long against the odds but the trauma to her body was too severe for her to overcome," Dr Kelvin Loh, CEO of the hospital, said in a statement.

The paramedical student was admitted to Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital with internal and external injuries described by the doctors as “horrendous and fatal” Dec 16 and had put up a brave fight for her life since then. Her body bore the brunt of severe torture by rapists who used an iron bar to inflict internal injuries to her abdomen, according to the medical reports.

The woman had undergone three major surgeries when she was in the Delhi hospital and was reportedly flown to Singapore after her condition had worsened following the cardiac arrest.

However, a controversy has erupted in the country with several medical experts questioning the government’s decision to airlift her to Singapore since she was said to have been in a very delicate situation with high infection and irregular blood pressure.

The woman’s blood pressure had fluctuated during the high altitude journey to Singapore, according to Doctor P.K. Verma who accompanied her.

However, the Indian government justified the decision to shift her to Singapore stating that it was purely a medical decision based on the advice of the experts and was done to ensure the victim got the best medical facilities.