Chennai: A petition filed before a Commission of Inquiry probing the death of former chief minister J Jayalalaithaa by its counsel has raised serious questions regarding her treatment at the Apollo Hospital in Chennai.
The standing counsel for the Justice Arumughaswamy Commission of Inquiry submitted that there was “sufficient circumstantial evidence” on collusion between Apollo Hospitals and Jayalalthaa’s close aide VK Sasikala in matters concerning the treatment given to the former Chief Minister.
The hospital has, however, strongly refuted the allegations against it raised in the petition.
The counsel, in his petition, submitted that the hospital’s failure to perform an angiogram on Jayalalithaa in time led to deterioration of her health, suggesting collusion.
An angiogram is a medical imaging technique used to visualize the inside of blood vessels and organs of the body to detect blockages. It is used by surgeons to determine the best treatment options.
The plea stated that medical evidence clearly established that Apollo failed to provide angiogram despite three senior doctors from various hospitals suggesting such a course.
Apollo Hospital, however, said the allegation was incorrect as it was only one doctor who suggested an immediate angiogram.
"It was only a single external doctor who on November 25, 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," the hospital said in a statement.
The hospital 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."
The counsel in its petition stated that the evidence given by health secretary J Radhakrishnan was not only contradictory but also suggestive of a conspiracy. The counsel also wanted action against former chief secretary Raja Mohana Rao as he had allegedly given false evidence before the Commission.
Apollo in a statement said the hospital and doctors stand by the medical treatment they provided to the late CM and emphasize that they followed internationally recognized treatment protocols and standard of care appropriate to her medical condition.
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".
Complicated medical terminologies in English have been incorrectly translated into Tamil and the context and meaning of medical facts have been lost in interpretation and translation, the hospital alleged.
"This petition only strengthens our case for the immediate appointment of a medical board who will understand the complexities of the late CM's treatment," it said.
The hospital argued that without a medical board no finding of the panel would be "complete" or based on medical science. "The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that a judge cannot substitute a medical specialist's opinion with his own," it said.
Jayalalithaa had died on December 5, 2016.
(With PTI inputs)