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Jayalalithaa Suffered Cardiac Arrest, No Mystery Over Her Death, Say Doctors

Chennai: Seeking to clear the air on the health of the late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa when she was rushed to the Apollo Hospitals here on September 22 last year, the British doctor who treated her asserted that “nothing strange happened” during the course of the treatment.

“There was no conspiracy, nothing strange happened during Jayalalithaa’s treatment at Apollo. We put our best effort to save her life,” said Dr Richard Beale, flanked by P Balaji of Madras Medical College and K Babu of Apollo Hospitals.

The doctor said this press conference was being “facilitated by government” and that there was “no political pressure” on them to hold this meeting.

The late Chief Minister was on and off ventilator and often also interacted after being admitted for fever and dehydration, Richard Beale told the press conference.

“She suffered from a cardiac arrest. It was a witnessed cardiac arrest and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation was started immediately for 20 minutes. Later she was put on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (EGMO). But her heart didn’t respond even after 24 hours, and then we decided that it is futile to continue therapy. The matter was shared to all concerned doctors, ministers, government of India,” said Dr Beale.

The doctor said Jayalalithaa raised her thumb when the Governor went to meet her in the hospital.

“We don’t have CCTVs in patients’ room, even if it were to exist we would never release it,” said Dr Richard Beale.

Beale clarified that it was possible for sepsis, the body’s response to infection, to spread fast and damage other organs though Jayalalithaa showed signs of recovery during her 75-day stay at the Apollo Hospitals here.

On the day she was admitted “she became short of breath at home and very short of breath when the ambulance brought her to the hospital…there was an infection resulting in damage to organs and contributing to shortness of breath”.

He said at that time “it was not clear” what the source of infection was “but subsequent tests showed there was indeed infection in her blood”.

“So bacteria were going from the blood and that was where the infection was identified and resulted in her general poor condition. It was known that Jayalalithaa was suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure, he said.

Speaking about the nature of their conversation, Dr Beale said that “we used to have little conversation about food, TV shows and my children”.