The treatment provided to former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa by Apollo Hospitals was as “per correct medical practice and no errors have been found in the care provided,” according to the AIIMS medical board constituted to give expert opinion on the circumstances of her hospitalisation and treatment.
The medical board, comprising seven experts, was constituted after a Supreme Court order in November 2021 called for the same with regard to an appeal filed by Apollo Hospitals. In its final report, dated August 4, the board has given the hospital a clean chit and agreed with the final diagnosis made by the hospital.
Providing a chronological sequence of significant events that had happened while Jayalalithaa was being treated, the board also records the exact treatment that was provided to the former Chief Minister. It said it found the sequence to be factually correct.
Multiple complications led to Jayalalithaa’s death, according to the discharge summary made available initially by the hospital. They had arrived at the final diagnosis of bacteremia (bacterial infection in the blood) and septic shock (caused by widespread infection leading to organ failure and low blood pressure) with respiratory infection. There was also infective endocarditis (inflammation of the inner lining of heart/valves) of the mitral valve with mitral regurgitation (caused by malfunction of the valve on the left side of the heart ) and first degree AV block (where the electrical impulse that controls the heart beat is blocked completely). There was also evidence of heart failure.
Besides this, the hospital’s summary said there was uncontrolled diabetes at admission that was treated. There was also a history of hypertension, hypothyroid, asthmatic bronchitis, irritable bowel syndrome and atopic dermatitis for the patient. The report said the AIIMS medical panel agreed with the final diagnosis.
The members of the medical panel, led by Sandeep Seth, professor of cardiology, included Anant Mohan, head of pulmonary medicine; Vimi Rewari, professor of anaesthesiology; Milind Hote, professor of cardiothoracic vascular surgery; Rajesh Kadgawat, professor of endocrinology; Abhishek Yadav, additional professor in the department of forensic medicine; and Ananth Naveen K. Reddy of the department of hospital administration.
The Tamil Nadu government appointed an inquiry commission headed by retired Madras High Court judge A. Arumughaswamy on September 25, 2017. The appointment of a commission of inquiry was among the preconditions placed by former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam to reintegrate his unit with the AIADMK faction headed by Edappadi K. Palaniswamy. The commission was then tasked to examine the circumstances that led to the hospitalisation of Jayalalithaa and the nature of treatment given so as to arrive at the cause of death.
Following this, in October 2021, Apollo Hospitals filed a petition in the Supreme Court to quash the commission, arguing that the “proceedings reeked of bias” and were a “violation of the principles of natural justice”. In November 2021, the Supreme Court ordered the constitution of a panel of experts from the AIIMS to assist the commission.
The panel members heard all the statements of the witnesses called by various parties and others who gave oral statements after the panel was formed. They also went through all the documents provided by the commission and considered all medical records and investigations before arriving at the conclusion.
Interestingly, the State government had extended the tenure of the commission until August 24 on a request from Mr. Arumughaswamy.