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Maran take-off

Chennai, Nov. 13: A special air ambulance with state-of-the-art facilities landed here from the US this afternoon to fly DMK leader and Union minister Murasoli Maran to Houston.

“Maran is being shifted from Apollo Hospitals to the US early on Thursday,” a hospital source said. Medical equipment, including a dialysis machine and life-support systems, are being taken from Apollo to be fitted in the unique aircraft by tonight.

Maran had been admitted to Apollo Hospitals on September 23 for an emergency mitral valve replacement surgery. The earlier operation at AIIMS on July 22 had led to a fungus infection.

Maran had developed complications while being treated for the “fungal endocarditis”, which involved multi-organ systems.

Since then, he had been put on dialysis. The minister has been on life-support systems for the last three weeks.

In the third week of October, the hospital had imported a drug from the US even as Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee kept in touch with Apollo chairman P.C. Reddy.

Sources said Maran was “travel fit” and would be accompanied by two doctors and a nurse as well as family members.

The DMK leader is being transferred to the Methodist Hospital and Research Centre in Houston, with whom Apollo enjoys a long-standing relationship.

Sources said Maran was being flown to the US medical institution on the express wish of his family members. The institute has developed a lot of expertise in medical management of post-operative infections, the sources said, adding that the main purpose for shifting the minister was rehabilitation and care.

In a similar instance, former Tamil Nadu chief minister M.G. Ramachandran was also air lifted in a critical condition in 1984 for further medical treatment in the US.

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