Remembering an angel who fought Nipah

‘She knew that the disease would overpower her willpower’

It’s been nearly an year since Sajeesh Puthur stepped into Government Medical College Hospital in Kozhikode. A year ago this day, he was waiting outside its isolation ward to get a glimpse of his wife’s face. Understanding the seriousness of her illness and why he or his family members should not meet her, he put up a brave face when her body was cremated in a hurry to check the spread of the disease. But a letter she had written to him while awaiting death broke him, in which Lini Puthusseri showed her care for him and their children.

Speaking to hundreds of nurses on Tuesday in an event to commemorate his wife, Sajeesh spoke on how close to the heart nursing profession was for Lini. “She knew that the disease would overpower her willpower. But she did her best to ensure that no one was infected from her,” Mr. Sajeesh said.

The event to commemorate Lini Puthusseri, the nurse who succumbed to Nipah, organised by Kerala Government Nurses Association (KGNA) was notable for the presence of former Health Minister P.K. Sreemathi, actor Parvathi Thiruvoth and Ajanya, the nursing student who survived Nipah.

Ms. Sreemathi said that Lini was an embodiment of love and sacrifice and that her determination to follow medical ethics even at the face of death was commendable. She lauded the nurses who worked in various hospitals during Nipah outbreak. “This is a high-risk job, yet they do not get the risk allowance,” she said.

Actor Parvathi noted that nurses did 95% of the job in the medical profession and that humanity was the factor to be highlighted while talking about them. “All that I can do for them is to bring out their humane nature in the true sense in the characters that I portray,” she said. Parvathi essays one of the characters in the movie Virus directed by Aashiq Abu, which is based based on the Nipah outbreak. The movie will hit cinemas soon.

For Ajanya, the whole situation, including her own condition, are just stories that her parents told her. She was unconscious and did not witness the war-like situation that the district went through. “I later learnt that I had shared the isolation ward with Lini, someone I would have been happy to have met,” she said.

District president of KGNA N.A. Shyamala presided over the event.

Meanwhile, Lini commemoration meetings were held in various hospitals and charitable organisations in the district.

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