As his wife and brother fight it out in Raiganj, Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, the man whose political legacy they are fighting for, lies in a private hospital in Delhi, capable of no brain function other than eye movement. Wife Deepa is electioneering in Raiganj where the Trinamool Congress has fielded the former information and broadcasting minister’s brother Satya Ranjan.
Priya Ranjan, 69, suffered a massive cardiac arrest in 2008 that severely damaged one part of his brain because of the prolonged disruption of oxygen supply. All his vital parameters are stable and he has been off life support for a long time, undergoing rehabilitative care at government expense. He breathes through a tracheostomy tube attached to his neck and is fed through a PEG tube in his stomach. He is not conscious of his surroundings.
There are physiotherapy sessions every day in room 2605B on the sixth floor of Indraprastha Apollo Hospital and a male nurse takes him on rounds on a wheelchair but there is no sign of any cognitive function except occasional eye contact. He was taken to Germany some time ago for stem cell therapy but, according to Deepa who is in Raiganj, he responded to the therapy “physically but not neurologically”, meaning that while he did put on some weight, none of the brain functions returned. A private guard stands watch and visitors are few, including both Deepa and their son.
Apollo authorities and chest physician Dr Avdesh Bansal, under whom he is admitted, are tightlipped about the treatment and prognosis. In an email reply to The Indian Express, Angad Bhalla from the hospital’s corporate communications department said they did not have the family’s consent to share details of the treatment. Dr Bansal too declined to comment. Sources say, however, there is no part of the care Dasmunsi currently undergoes that cannot be replicated at home and the family has been told so.
Deepa, the sitting MP, told The Indian Express from Raiganj” “We have started having meetings now but only small ones because we cannot use loudspeakers yet. By fielding my brother-in-law against me, the Trinamool is trying to divide the family but they will not be successful,” she said Asked about her husband, she said there has been a little improvement in brain functions after stem cell therapy.”
“He did put on weight but the brain did not respond. I have spoken to all doctors on this, they say brain cells take time to heal. Nobody can say how long,” she said.