The Nipah virus contagion in Kerala, which has claimed 12 lives so far, is pushing the state into medical crisis. But such situations create unlikely heroes like Lini Puthuserry, the 31-year-old daily-wage nurse at EMS Memorial Hospital at Perambra, Kozhikode who contracted the dreaded Nipah viral infection in the line of duty. Lini went above and beyond her responsibilities as a nurse and did her best to care for the brothers Sadik and Salih who were the first victims of the Nipah virus infection.
Her death garnered worldwide attention; she was soon dubbed the ‘Hero of Perambra’ for her selfless service. But these platitudes mean nothing for Lini’s family, who are still coping with the aftermath of her untimely death. According to a news report in The Hindu, her family alleges that a few ambulance drivers refused to ferry her body to the crematorium for the fear of infection.
The news report revealed that the family was left in tears after a few ambulance drivers from the Government Medical College refused to carry Lini’s body to the crematorium. They didn’t budge even after the family assured that they don’t have to touch her body. Finally, the family members had to take the help of the police.
Lini, who left behind two young sons aged five and two, is also survived by her husband, mother and sisters. They never had the chance to see Lini once before she died because she was quarantined. Her cremation was also carried out hurriedly, without handing her body over to her relatives. But the family harbours no resentment about the incident. It was the calloused attitude of the ambulance drivers who refused to transport the body that broke their heart.
It is reminiscent of another act of callousness involving the ambulance personnel in Kerala. Back in March, a fatally injured man was lowered out of the ambulance upside down by the driver who was annoyed at the victim for passing urine and stool inside the vehicle. It’s heart-breaking that Lini was not shown the same compassion in death for she has been exemplified for.