CHENNAI: J Jayalalithaa, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, “has shown some signs of response” while on life support systems, said sources today, asking not to be named because of the sensitivity of the situation. After local television channels wrongly reported her death this evening, violence was reported at Chennai’s Apollo Hospital where she was admitted in September. Ms Jayalalithaa’s condition will be reviewed in an hour by a team of doctors from Delhi’s AIIMS hospital, said sources. Her party, the AIADMK, held a meeting this evening of all its legislators, but steered clear, at least on record, of discussing any succession plan.
Here are the 10 latest developments in this big story:
- Jayalalithaa’s party, briefly lowered its flag to half-mast at its headquarter, then hoisted it again after Apollo Hospital said local channels’ reports on her death were “totally baseless and false.” The 68-year-old had a cardiac arrest last evening.
- A brief riot erupted at the hospital after the incorrect television reports, and the police had to use lathis or batons to control the crowd of thousands which tried to rush past barricades.
- Senior government sources said that neurologists have examined the Chief Minister and have reported “some response.”
- Four doctors from Delhi’s premier AIIMS institute have been sent to Chennai, and have examined the Chief Minister. Their report is due soon.
- London specialist Dr Richard Beale, who had flown down earlier to supervise the Chief Minister’s condition, said in a statement from the United Kingdom, “The situation is extremely grave but I can confirm that everything possible is being done to give her the best chance of surviving (the cardiac arrest).” He told NDTV that the politician is now “on the most advanced level of support.”
- The Chief Minister is now being treated with ECMO or an Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation device, which means that she is being assisted in breathing and in heart functions. Expert said the line of treatment can continue for weeks and is used when doctors believe the cause of cardiac arrest is reversible.
- The police has blocked all roads leading to the hospital where hundreds of the Chief Minister’s supporters have gathered to keep vigil just like they had months ago, disbanding only when doctors said she had recovered.
- Security across the state has been reviewed as a precaution against violent or self-harming protests by lakhs of supporters of the hugely popular politician.
- Just days ago, the Chief Minister was moved from the critical care unit of the hospital to a private room fitted with state-of-the-art equipment.
- In a series of tweets last night on the politician’s health condition, Apollo Hospital asked for prayers for the leader’s recovery. Yesterday, hours before Ms Jayalalithaa’s condition worsened, her party said that she was fully recovered and was due to decide on when to return to her home.