Lini Puthussery, one of the three nurses who had fallen sick after tending to the patients diagnosed with the Nipah virus in Kerala, passed away on Monday, 21 May.
Puthussery, who worked at the EMS Memorial Cooperative Hospital at Perambra, had reportedly fallen sick a few days ago, when she was treating the two brothers who were the first victims of the virus that broke out in Kozhikode.
Although a report on her blood and fluid samples is yet to be released, it is suspected that her death was a result of her having contracted the Nipah virus, and as a precautionary measure, her body was hastily cremated at an electronic crematorium so as to prevent the disease from spreading, reported The News Minute.
Puthussery went to work on Wednesday, 16 May, even though she was running a fever, because the hospital was short-staffed. Her husband, Sajeesh, told News18 that even though he had flown down from Bahrain to see her, where he is currently working, he did not get to see her alive.
Sajeesh told The News Minute that although Puthussery told him that she had fallen ill, he did not anticipate that it would turn fatal. Puthussery had always been the kind of person to give priority to her official duties, he said.
She died doing her duty, and when I hear people appreciate her commitment to her work, I feel proud of her. She did her duty without hesitating and showed 100 percent commitment to what she did. Having worked as a nurse for the past 10 years, Lini always wanted to work in the government sector.Sajeesh to The News Minute
He added that Puthussery left him a letter. In the note, she wrote:
Sajeeshetta, am almost on the way. I don’t think I will be able to see you again. Sorry. Please take care of our children. Poor Kunju (term of endearment for their son), please take him to the Gulf with you. Don’t leave them and go like (my) father did. Please. With lots of love… Kisses.
Speaking about the letter, Sajeesh said his wife must have known that her end was near. “I don’t know how I will take care of our children now,” he told News18.
Puthussery is survived by two sons – 5-year-old Rithul and 2-year-old Sidharth.
Marking its respect for Puthussery’s sacrifice, the Kerala Cabinet has offered a government job to Sajeesh and a Rs 10 lakh compensation for each of her two sons. ANI reports that the government is ready to give Rs 5 lakh as compensation to the families of other victims of the Nipah virus as well.
Who Was Lini Puthussery?
Puthussery had completed her nursing course from the Pawan School of Nursing in Bengaluru, and after a long struggle, had found a job as a daily-wage nurse at the Perambra Taluk Hospital under the National Rural Health Mission scheme.
Her family – a father and two sisters – were dependent on her salary. She worked in the hospital for over a year, up until her death on 21 May. She was extremely hard-working and dedicated, her colleagues told News18.
According to The News Minute, as many as 20 people infected with the Nipah virus have been admitted to the Kozhikode Medical College.
Puthussery’s death comes at a time when Kerala Health Minister KK Shylaja said that the government had adopted all possible measures to contain the virus and was setting up more facilities. It had even allotted Rs 20 lakh to the Kozhikode Medical College, where most of the victims are admitted, the report added.
According to The Times of India, the death toll was 10 – four were confirmed to be due to the virus and six were suspected cases of the same. ANI further reports that two more victims, who were being treated in isolation camps in the Kozhikode Medical College hospital, passed away on Tuesday, 22 May.
(This story has been updated to reflect the compensation announced by the Kerala government)