Chennai: Two months after J Jayalalithaa died in a Chennai hospital, doctors who treated her have shared details about the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s treatment in hospital and her death. The team of doctors from Apollo hospital and Dr Richard Beale, a lung specialist from Britain on Monday said they wanted to “dispel the rumours” that have swirled in the absence of adequate information about her condition over the 75 days that she was in hospital before she died on December 5 last year.
Ms Jayalalithaa’s closest companion VK Sasikala, who had earlier taken over as AIADMK chief, will also now hold Ms Jayalalithaa’s other post, that of Chief Minister, the ruling party announced on Sunday.
The Apollo hospital said a bill of Rs. 5.5 crore was given to Jayalalithaa’s family for her 75-day treatment. Ms Jayalalithaa “was speaking” for several days till she suffered a cardiac arrest on the evening of Sunday, December 4, the doctors said. Dr Beale said in his last conversation with her, “We talked about what she liked on TV, what food she liked, rehabilitation, I talked about my children…”
“She was very much completely aware and interactive,” the UK lung specialist said. He said when he told the Chief Minister, “I’m in charge,” she retorted, “No, I’m in charge.”
Ms Jayalalithaa, the doctors said was brought to hospital on September 22, 2016, for breathlessness. “There was an infection resulting in damage to organs and made her short of breath,” they said, adding that her condition improved somewhat after the initial infection and she was “conscious and responding.”
Ms Jayalalithaa died of what the doctors called a “witnessed cardiac arrest.” They said they attempted to revive her for 20 minutes,” adding that her collapse was completely unexpected.
“It was severe infection with damage to organs that led to her death,” said Dr Beale. Ms Jayalalithaa, the UK doctor said, had indicated that she did not wish to travel to London to be treated.
When Governor C Vidyasagar Rao made his second visit to Apollo hospital, he saw the Chief Minister through a glass screen and she raised her thumb at him, the doctors said.
One doctor confirmed that Ms Jayalalithaa was conscious when she signed off on a document for by-elections in the state. There was much speculation on the Chief Minister’s condition since the document bore her thumb impression and not her signature.
The doctors have ruled out poisoning and said there was nothing mysterious about Ms Jayalalithaa’s death. Expelled AIADMK Member of Parliament Sasikala Pushpa has alleged “foul play” and a petition was filed in a Chennai court in December alleging “suspected poisoning” as cause of the Chief Minister’s death.