Late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s doctor Richard Beale who was flown in from the UK to treat her when she was in the ICU at Apollo Hospital, on Monday said that she succumbed to serious infection which led to organ failure.
London-based specialist Richard Beale said in Chennai that Jayalalithaa had sepsis when she was brought into Apollo Hospital last September in a conscious state the source of infection was unknown.
The infection had led to severe organ damage, which combined with her chronic diabetes and hypertension, had caused deterioration in Jayalalithaa’s health.
“The process of treatment was straightforward. There was no conspiracy,” Beale said, adding that any questions of exhuming the body were “ridiculous”.
“Bacteria had grown in her blood and septicaemia resulted in the general deterioration of her health” the doctor said.
Dousing rumours over her death, Beale clarified that during the initial days of her hospitalisation, “she (Jaya) was certainly conscious and responding”, but her condition worsened unexpectedly.
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.
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”.
No organ transplant or amputation was performed, clarified the doctors.
He also added that Jaya was treated with non-invasive inhalation.
According to the doctors, medical personnel were present in the room when Jayalalithaa suffered a sudden heart attack on December 4 last year.
“She had a cardiac arrest. CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) was started immediately. The on-call cardiologist in the hospital came down within a few minutes. The CPR (process) went for 20 minutes but there was no heart rhythm,” said a doctor, who was in the panel of doctors that addressed a specially convened press conference.
He said that for 24 hours Jayalalithaa was put on another machine to see if her heart restarts, but there was no “own heart beat”.
The doctor said it was decided to discontinue the process after about 24 hours and the decision was taken with consultation with all doctors, including the AIIMS team, who had arrived.