Jayalalithaa died of a cardiac arrest, no conspiracies: Dr Richard Beale and other docs dispel rumours

On Monday, after a period of two months, the doctors of Apollo hospital who treated former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa held a press conference in Chennai to dispel rumours surrounding her death. Dr Richard Beale, a London-based doctor who closely monitored Jayalalithaa's case, also joined the press meet and assured that there was no conspiracy behind her death.

The doctors revealed that Jayalalithaa communicated in sign language and was responding and communicating for several days before she collapsed after a cardiac arrest.

The press meet was not held by Apollo hospital but was facilitated by the Tamil Nadu government. When asked why the world was made to believe that she was improving despite she was critically ill, the doctors answered, "This is a policy related question, and we are doctors, so we cannot answer that. After she was put on the ventilator, she wasn't able to communicate with the officials." On the matter of photographing Jayalalithaa when she was critically ill, Dr Beale said, "Images of critically ill patients are not taken. I dont understand why reasonable people would expect that such an act should be committed. We don't have CCTVs in patients' room, even if it were to exist we would never release it."

He said the idea of exhuming Jayalalithaa's body for post-mortem was ridiculous.

According to a Tamil Nadu government doctor, P. Balaji, the total hospital bill for treatment of Jayalalithaa was between Rs 5 crore and Rs 5.5 crore.

"I am told the bill has been given to the family members of Jayalalithaa."

According to Babu K. Abraham, Respiratory Medicine Specialist at Apollo Hospitals where she died, Jayalalithaa suffered cardiac arrest around 5 p.m. on December 5.

She was given cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for 20 minutes.

He said as there was no heart rhythm, Jayalalithaa was put on ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) which would take 24 hours to show result.

Abraham said it was a collective medical decision comprising of all doctors who had treated Jayalalithaa including the doctors from AIIMS, New Delhi, that it was futile to continue with ECMO.

A decision was taken to remove ECMO after informing Jayalalithaa's family members.

According to Beale, a range of tests had to be done when a patient is put on ECMO.

Beale said in Jayalalithaa's case, it became obvious that there was no response.

Queried about Jayalalithaa's last moments, Abraham said the late Chief Minister had told a doctor that she was feeling breathless.

Abraham said Jayalalithaa was on the road to recovery at one stage. She was able to take a few steps and had resumed talking.

Abraham said Jayalalithaa was in the hospital for 75 days and for 25 days she was under sedation.

He said state government officials as well as Sasikala were briefed about Jayalalithaa's health daily.

Questioned whether Tamil Nadu Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao met Jayalalithaa in the hospital, Balaji said the Governor met her during his second visit.

"Jayalalithaa showed him a thumbs up sign," Balaji said.

Beale said he had interacted with Sasikala.

The doctors said no part Jayalalithaa's body was amputated.

According to the doctors, normal embalming process was followed after Jayalalithaa's death.

Jayalalithaa had severe diabetes and had a an infection when she was admitted in the hospital. This later led to damage of organs and an eventual cardiac arrest. The doctors gave a brief timeline of her time in the hospital.

When asked about her transference to London for better treatment, Dr Beale said, "Issue of transferring a patient (Jayalalithaa) to London was discussed but in such cases risk factors always there. She herself didn’t wished to move out of country for treatment."

Throughout her hospital stay, there was speculation about Jayalalithaa's true condition. Several rumours about her alleged poisoning were circulating in the social media at the time. Many even wondered that the gravity of her health was largely hidden from the public to keep up appearances that Jayalalithaa was in charge. Only a very close group of people, including her longtime companion VK Sasikala, were allowed access to her.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Feb 06, 2017 17:26:18 IST

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