With AIADMK chief V K Sasikala set to become the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, the state government on Monday organised a press meet in Chennai that was addressed by Dr Richard Beale, the London-based doctor who treated the late CM J Jayalalithaa, to clear the air on her health and treatment in the final days.
Dr Beale and three other doctors, including Dr Balaji, Dr Babu Abraham and Dr Sudha Seshayyan, clarified several doubts on Jayalalithaa’s death. The doctors tried dispelling doubts about the suspicious injuries, rumoured amputations, organ transplant. They said that there was neither any organ transplant nor any amputation done on her.
About rumours surrounding one of the most viral photos of Jayalalithaa’s body, Dr Seshayyan, who led the embalming process on the body, said four dots spotted on her cheeks could have been from the ventilator equipment.
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While Beale said releasing a photograph of Jayalalithaa was impossible due to privacy of the patient, he added that it was Sepsis, a blood infection, that was the key diagnosis.
“Sepsis always comes with inflammatory responses in the body. And it had affected many organs, and infection was damaging other organs. Initially the source of infection was not clear, it was later that we diagnosed the origin to blood,” he said, adding that when Sepsis spread to other organs including heart, her acute diabetes and high blood pressure also worsened the situation.
At one point during the interaction, he added: “Clearly this press conference is being facilitated by the government and I have always been willing to come and participate in a discussion such as this within the limits of confidentiality..”
Replying to several questions about the events during Jayalalithaa’s 75-day hospitalisation from September 22 to December 5, Dr Beale recalled his interactions with the late CM, including lighter moments they shared by talking about food, TV programmes and his children in London.
Doctors said that she was admitted with fever and dehydration and was given non-invasive ventilation support soon after the admission.
“However, she was certainly conscious and responding, although she was tired due to Sepsis. Eventually, her condition had improved in the final days of hospitalisation,” said Dr Balaji, who was one of the coordinating doctors at Chennai Apollo.
Doctors said that while Jayalalithaa was always responding to treatment, infection made her drowsy. She was talking, eating and responding through signs even when she was too tired and not sedated during the treatment period, they added.
At the press meet, the doctors did not comment on the issue of there being any delay in bringing her to the hospital. They also evaded questions on government claims during the initial days of her hospitalisation she had dictated a letter on Cauvery issue and interacted with officials.