Twist in tale

The probe into the circumstances that led to the death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has been witnessing many twists and turns right from its commencement. The latest is a petition filed before the Commission of Inquiry by its counsel, raising serious medical issues regarding her treatment at Apollo Hospitals. The lawyer for Arumughaswamy Commission has alleged that Tamilnadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan colluded and conspired with Apollo. The petition also alleged that on many occasions, he acted like a spokesperson of the hospital.

The hospital has, however, strongly refuted the allegations against it raised in the petition. “It is surprising that the commission is itself filing this petition against other parties,” the hospital said, adding that the proceedings before the inquiry panel cannot be accusatorial in nature. The hospital said the plea before the panel referred to three senior doctors advising an angiogram for Jayalalithaa. “This is incorrect. It was only a single external doctor, who, on 25 November 2016 visited the late CM for a few minutes and suggested immediate angiogram without going into all the other co-morbidities, including her compromised respiratory condition, which could have potentially inhibited the desired outcome,” it said.

Apollo further said its team of doctors and Richard Beale, a UK-based specialist, did not think it was wise to do angiogram based on the medical opinion of that doctor who wanted to “perform the procedure and leave immediately out of the country with no commitment to her follow-up care”. Citing medical evidence in the form of depositions of multiple doctors, and related medical reports including echocardiogram and blood tests, the hospital asked why was the “commission choosing to ignore the material evidence in this regard”. Also, the hospital said the petition wrongly spelt ‘sternotomy’ as ‘stenotomy’. Apollo argued that without a medical board no finding of the panel would be ‘complete’ or based on medical science. Considering the serious and sensitive nature of the case, the panel should soon bring out the truth behind the health complications that led to the demise of the leader who was loved by millions.

NT Bureau