National News

Tamil Nadu: Jayalalithaa is on life support, condition still very critical, says hospital

While the AIADMK claimed she had undergone a heart procedure and will ‘definitely be okay’, the facility did not confirm this.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s health continues to be very critical, a spokesperson for Chennai’s Apollo Hospitals said on Monday, a day after she suffered a cardiac arrest. “She is on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and other life support systems and is being closely monitored”, the spokesperson added. An ECMO is a technique of providing cardiac and respiratory support to patients whose heart and lungs are unable to provide ample exchange of gases to sustain life.

The All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief was moved into the intensive care unit at the facility on Sunday evening, hours after the party said she had recovered completely. “She is being treated and monitored by a team of experts including cardiologists, pulmonologists and the critical care specialist,” the hospital had said in a statement.

Security was heightened at and around the Chennai hospital on Monday, as Jayalalithaa’s supporters crowded the area following news of her deteriorating health. The Tamil Nadu director general of police had asked the city’s police teams to be ready to patrol the streets from 7 am on Monday morning in full uniform and with their cars. Several schools in the city remained closed, paramilitary forces are on standby, and security arrangements were strengthened around Jayalalithaa’s home, as well.

Party spokesperson CR Saraswathi told NDTV on Monday morning, “There was an angio procedure this morning. Doctors say ‘don’t worry, Amma will be fine.’” The hospital, however, did not confirm whether Jayalalithaa had undergone any such surgery. Earlier, a specialist from London had been asked to fly down to examine her.

Political leaders, including President Pranab Mukherjee, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, sent out messages wishing her a speedy recovery.

Tamil Nadu Acting Governor C Vidyasagar Rao had visited the hospital late on Sunday. Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh also spoke to Rao, who assured him that there was no law and order crisis in the state. Union Health Minister JP Nadda said he was in constant contact with Apollo Hospitals and the Tamil Nadu government to inquire about Jayalalithaa’s condition, and that a team from Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences had been sent to Chennai to assist with her treatment.

Moreover, a member of Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK died on Sunday after seeing news of her deteriorating heath on Sunday night. Nelagandan was an AIADMK cadre from Cuddalore district, ANI reported.

On Sunday afternoon, the AIADMK had claimed she had recovered fully and would go home soon. Party spokesperson C Ponnaiyan had said that a team of doctors had visited her the previous day.

Soon after the announcement on Sunday, several state ministers and top bureaucrats arrived at the hospital. Security was also increased around Apollo Hospital. Tamil Nadu’s Director General of Police TK Rajendran has convened an emergency meeting and police forces are being asked to prepare for any untoward circumstances. Reports said central security forces might also be called in to the state.

Jayalalithaa was hospitalised on September 22 after complaining of fever and dehydration. The hospital said she was taken off respiratory on November 18 and moved from the ICU to a general ward on November 19. Her health has been the centre of a great deal of speculation, with the AIADMK and Apollo Hospital consistently putting out statements that her condition is improving, though Opposition parties have questioned this stance. Thousands of her followers have been praying for her recovery.

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