As suspense continued over the condition of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s health, doctors at Apollo have maintained that she has been responding positively to the treatment. “Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s health continues to improve and is responding adequately to the comprehensive treatment being given to her,” the latest bulletin read. Despite the restrained reporting by local media over her health, former Hindu editor Malini Parthasarathy shared on Twitter that Jayalalithaa is out of danger and is responding to treatment. “One happy news amid the gloom & doom: CM Jaya certainly recovering & out of danger as seen by a close associate who visited her at hospital,” she tweeted.
Fondly called Amma by her supporters, the chief minister was admitted in the hospital on September 22. The first health bulletin released by the hospital claimed that she is receiving treatment for fever and dehydration. However, the hospital later confirmed that she is being treated for an infection and the fever has subsided. The infection treatment includes an antibiotics course and providing respiratory support.
A specialist from the United Kingdom was flown in last Friday to assist doctors at Apollo. Dr Richard Beale, a critical care physician at the London Bridge Hospital, examined the chief minister and held discussions with the Apollo doctors. Beale was brought in as he has handled many cases and done research on Sepsis, a life-threatening condition, and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.
Since Apollo’s medical bulletins were the only credible source, rumours suggesting that she has been suffering from pulmonary edema and was unable to breathe filled the gaps in information. It came to a point where the hospital had to deny reports that she was set to be transferred to a hospital in Singapore for multiple organ failure. An FIR was also registered by the state police against an Indian women residing in France for spreading falsehoods about Jayalalithaa’s health. A 47-year-old AIADMK worker, Muthusamy, died of heart attack after being reportedly upset over the rumours.
Amid the face off with neighbouring state Karnataka over sharing Cauvery waters, Jayalalithaa purportedly left instructions with her staff on how to respond to Karnataka as the state defied Supreme Court orders to release water to Tamil Nadu twice. DMK supremo and former chief minister Karunanidhi urged the government to release a photo of her meetings with the Cabinet and support staff. The former chief minister hoped that Jayalalithaa would recover soon, but stressed that it was important to dispel the rumours surrounding the status of her health. A PIL was filed on Monday at the Madras High Court requesting the same.
Acting Tamil Nadu Governor Vidyasagar Rao paid a visit to the hospital to inquire about Jayalalithaa’s health. “Governor Rao entered the critical care room along with Apollo founder Prathap C Reddy and saw Jayalalithaa,” an official source told The Indian Express, refusing to reveal further. Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan was also one of the few top leaders to visit Amma. Jayalalithaa’s close aides Sasikala Natarajan and O Panneerselvam, who took over as chief minister when she was in jail, have been camping on the second floor of the hospital. News channel NDTV reported that six bureaucrats have been running the government in her absence. All the secretaries looking over the 54 government departments have been reporting to Chief Secretary Sheela Balakrishnan, sources told NDTV.
Meanwhile, AIADMK workers performed a homam, praying for the quick recovery of their leader. As supporters continued to flock the hospital on Greams Road in large numbers, police have barricaded both sides of the road and restricted entry to only a few in the party. “We are not letting party supporters in as the crowd will affect operations of the hospital,” said a deputy commissioner posted outside the hospital.