The state government’s decision to organise a press conference to dispel rumours surrounding late CM J Jayalalithaa’s hospitalisation and death raised eyebrows on Monday, as it came a day after VK Sasikala was named the new chief minister.
For more than an hour, a team of doctors fielded questions from media on former chief minister’s health and treatment.
Richard Beale, a London-based medical specialist who supervised Jaya’s treatment, P Balaji of Madras Medical College and K Babu of Apollo Hospitals told mediapersons that the late chief minister was given the best possible treatment.
“We are trying to end the rumours surrounding the death of our honourable Puratchi Thalaivi that is all.”
While the three doctors insisted the conference was called to quell rumours and based on the travel schedule of Beale, others questioned the timing.
“They’ve understood that there is a deep-rooted resentment for Sasikala’s imminent ascension as the chief minister. They want to assuage the feelings of the people with this press conference,” DMK party spokesperson Saravanan said. “No reasonable man cannot be suspicious with the timing.”
A senior AIADMK leader, who didn’t wish to be named, said the press meet had nothing to do with Sasikala’s elevation.
“We are trying to end the rumours surrounding the death of our honourable Puratchi Thalaivi that is all,” the leader said.
Several conspiracy theories have been floating around following the death of Jayalalithaa, a popular leader. There are accusations that she wasn’t given proper treatment, which was couched in unusual secrecy.
“The process of treatment was straightforward. There was no conspiracy,” Beale said, adding any questions of exhuming the body were “ridiculous”.
Jayalalithaa was admitted to the Apollo Hospitals here on September 22 with sepsis, an inflammatory reaction to an infection, he said.
All through her stay in hospital, health updates were sketchy and gave little information on what ailed the chief minister and the treatment she was receiving.
The 68-year-old died on December 5 after suffering a cardiac arrest.
“Sepsis can affect a patient in a matter of hours or even days,” said Beale, adding Jayalalithaa was conscious and spoke to him.
The AIADMK supremo was put on ventilator support before being sedated for a period of 10 days as her sepsis worsened, Abraham said.
“We spoke about many things, like what she liked to watch on TV, my children, food, rehabilitation — albeit with signs and gestures as she recovered from her tracheotomy,” said Beale.
Balaji confirmed that doctors used to give a daily debriefing to a team including Sasikala, the chief health secretary and AIADMK leader M Thambidurai.