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  India   All India  06 Dec 2016  God of healing couldn’t cure Amma in the end

God of healing couldn’t cure Amma in the end

Published : Dec 6, 2016, 2:59 am IST
Updated : Dec 6, 2016, 7:38 am IST

There was never a chance that her recovery would be anywhere near good enough for her to interact with anyone except doctors.

Late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. (Photo: File)
 Late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. (Photo: File)

Chennai: The end came in the same hospital – named after the Greek god of healing, Apollo - at which her political mentor and fellow actor MGR had first been treated after a serious illness in the 1980s. Ever since she was admitted to the corporate hospital on September 22, they put a blanket on the news coming out. State secret or not, insiders knew that her illness was far more serious than her close associates or her party leaders would ever concede.

A suspected septicaemia was said to have led to other severe complications in the lungs and in the heart and she was soon breathing only with the help of a ventilator. As complication piled upon complication, the news flow got even more restricted. In about a month’s time, she was said to have staged a smart recovery from the life-threatening, multi-organ threatening infection. However, she had grown so feeble that she needed the support of machines to breathe and physiotherapy to bolster her body that had lost all its muscle. And, as the London intensivist Dr Beale was to reveal, anything could happen to her health in the event of a relapse.

Hope was rising once again as she seemed to recover from the worst and doctors were even hoping in the last week of November she could get back home where physiotherapy and other treatment could continue. However, insiders were unwilling to put a date on her return home as they knew the merest setback could send her hurtling towards grave illness once again.

The very notion that she would come back energised and fit enough to be the Chief Minister again could have been nursed only by her party loyalists and the millions who prayed for her faithfully. There was never a chance that her recovery would be anywhere near good enough for her to interact with anyone except doctors, nurses and those considered her adopted kin. To even believe she could get back on the gaddi in her favourite Secretariat in Fort St George was to have faith in the supernatural.

The day she suffered a cardiac arrest was to be her second last and she lived on into Monday afternoon, which is when the life support systems such as Ecmo were no more life-sustaining. Her condition in her last days was said to be pathetic after she had lost a huge amount of weight and tubes were running to feed her nutrients and medicines and she could hardly speak after the Tacheostomy procedure to assist her breathing.

She had reigned like a monarch with none around her willing even to speak a word she might take umbrage at. It was sad then that she should go after being a passive patient for 75 days. The doctors had taken the best possible care of her with the entire second floor of the hospital taken over for her to be in the Critical Care Unit as the sole occupant with lesser threat of infection. Her ministers and kin had space on a different wing of the same floor where they waited in vain for her complete recovery.

An extracorporeal membrane heart assist device was to be the final companion for a woman who was the nearest anyone could have been to a modern monarch in India with the courtiers willing to die to please her. The farcical circumstances of news channels jumping the gun even in stating what was feared but not officially declared were avoidable. If only those running the state when the leader was sick had the least bit of concern for information flow, we would not have been subject to such uncertainty.

Given the extra optimistic health bulletins of the party faithful like C.R, Saraswathi and the rigidly medical tone of Apollo Hospitals releases, there was bound to be a churning of anxieties in the public, who in the end were the real supporters of a leader who had striven to make their lives easier, if not better. Of course, given Jayalalithaa’s own Goebbelsian view of the media, it was no surprise that information flow was never an official priority. Of course, the tremendous regard she had for the Deccan Chronicle obviated the need for us to be hypercritical of her general media relations.

Tags: jayalalithaa dead, apollo hospitals
Location: India, Tamil Nadu, Chennai (Madras)