A SPECIAL court in Mumbai has permitted officials of Arthur Road jail to refer senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal to KEM hospital. Bhujbal, however, refused to undergo a test recommended to assess his condition Tuesday.
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The superintendent of Arthur Road jail, where Bhujbal has been lodged since March, had written to the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act court last week. This was after Bhujbal was admitted to the state-run JJ Hospital on September 12 after he complained of fever, chills and chest pain. A month later on October 12, Bhujbal was discharged even as his heart rate continued to fluctuate. The prison officials had approached the court, stating that advanced cardiovascular facilities, lacking at JJ Hospital, were available at the civic-run KEM.
The court allowed for doctors from KEM’s cardiology department to examine Bhujbal at Arthur Road jail and directed them to submit a report Wednesday, said advocate R V Mokashi, who represents Bhujbal.
On Tuesday, however, even as a team of doctors from KEM’s cardiology department went to examine Bhujbal at Arthur Road jail, it was turned away after the former minister refused to undergo the holter test, claiming he did not want to use the portable machine.
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Jail authorities are clueless what to do now. “KEM hospital can decide. We do not know what to do in this situation,” said jail Superintendent Harshad Ahirrao. The holter machine, the size of a walkman, is attached to the patient for 24-48 hours to record the heart rhythms. It can be conducted anywhere, even in jail. “The test could have been done by doctors in jail where he (Bhujbal) is. Based on holter readings, we would have taken a decision on whether other tests are necessary,” said Dr Avinash Supe, dean at KEM hospital.
He said he was waiting to hear from the jail now on this issue. JJ Hospital had asked the jail authorities to conduct three advanced cardiovascular tests – holter test, thallium scan and electrophysiology – claiming it did not have the facilities for these tests at their hospital. Electrophysiology is, however, available at the hospital, making his discharge questionable. With Bhujbal’s refusal to conduct these tests at KEM, doctors on Tuesday were unable to assess his medical condition. The authorities, however, are expected to submit a report to the court on Wednesday.