Violence erupted this evening outside Chennai’s Apollo Hospital where Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s condition has been declared “very grave”. The police used batons on the crowd of thousands to restrain them from crossing barricades. Apollo has issued a statement that media reports declaring the Chief Minister’s death are wrong. The 68-year-old had a cardiac arrest last evening and is on crucial life support systems with machines taking over crucial lung and heart functions.
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 the hospital’s clarification.
- A medical update from the hospital just a short while ago said the 68-year-old politician is very critical. Senior officials reiterated to NDTV that she remains under close observation but cannot be reported in “stable” condition.
- Four doctors from Delhi’s premier AIIMS institute have been sent to Chennai, and have examined the Chief Minister.
- London specialist Dr Richard Beale who had flown down earlier to supervise the Chief Minister’s condition said in a statement, “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 thatshe was fully recovered and was due to decide on when to return to her home.