Lini Puthussery's sons Rithul, 5, and Sidharth, 2, are yet to understand that their mother will never be coming back.
Lini contracted the deadly Nipah Virus while tending to two brothers who were the first victims of the fever outbreak in Kozhikode. She breathed her last on Sunday night, without even getting a chance to see her loved ones. Her husband Sajeesh, who works as an accountant in Bahrain, had flown down two days ago, yet never got a chance to see her alive. Her family could not even hold a proper funeral, as her body was cremated in haste to prevent the virus coming in contact with others.
Lini and her two sisters had lost their father several years ago. Until her marriage, her family was dependent on her income. After completing her nursing course from the Pawan School of Nursing in Bangalore, she had struggled to repay her loans. Failing to find regular work, she had finally found employment as a daily-wage nurse at the Perambra Taluk Hospital, under a National Rural Health Mission scheme. She had been working at the hospital for the past one year. Her colleagues at the hospital say she was extremely dedicated to her work.
Lini's death has prompted calls for better protection for nurses working in government hospitals in Kerala. Her death comes at a time when there is a heated battle on in the courts over fixing minimum wages and better working conditions for nursing staff. Lini's story shows the immense sacrifices some of these nurses make every day to treat the ill and the infirm.