The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Missive to Atal on Maran

Chennai, June 16: DMK chief M. Karunanidhi today released a copy of a letter he has written to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, urging him to order an inquiry into how Union minister Murasoli Maran had come to be “paralysed medically”.

Karunanidhi said the condition of Maran — undergoing treatment at a US hospital for seven months — worsened a week ago. He alleged lapses in Maran’s treatment at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi and the Apollo Hospitals here.

The DMK chief said he was grateful to the Prime Minister for the “continuous attention” to Maran. The minister, who is his nephew, is undergoing treatment at Methodist Hospital in Houston since November last year.

But Karunanidhi said some “reasonable doubts and apprehensions” need to be removed about Maran’s treatment at AIIMS and the Apollo Hospitals after the minister underwent a heart valve replacement last year.

“I have heard that there were some lacunae in the course of treatment after surgery which could have been averted if it had been diagnosed in time. I have been told that Maran was discharged after surgery at AIIMS with high temperature and the temperature did not reduce subsequently. This abnormal temperature should have been taken into consideration,” Karunanidhi said in his letter.

Doctors treating Maran now said the “second operation to replace the valve, conducted at the Apollo hospital, ended with leakage”. The DMK chief said the minister was thus compelled to have a third surgery (in the US) to replace the valve.

Karunanidhi agreed that three consecutive heart surgeries would affect anyone’s health, but wanted an explanation on how Maran was paralysed medically.

The DMK chief said he was aware of the facilities and standards at both institutions but still wanted his “few reasonable doubts” cleared. He said his praise for the hospitals did not mean that he could not express his “sincere opinion and reasonable fears” or that his inferences were “baseless and vague”.

Apollo Hospitals chairman Prathap C. Reddy has denied negligence in treating Maran after the minister was admitted on September 23, 2002, with high temperature. He said a specialist team had to perform an emergency, high-risk operation on Maran to replace the infected valve with a “new prosthesis”.

Reddy said Maran was shifted to a hospital room after surgery. But due to “multi-organ failure”, he was moved to the intensive care unit for continuous support, including ventilator and renal dialysis.

Maran was being supported “continuously with life-saving measures with the guidance of our consultants and international specialists on fungal septicaemia”, Reddy said.

He recalled that Karunanidhi had visited the hospital when Maran was seriously ill and was “very appreciative” of the medicare provided, on a par with the best medical centres worldwide.

“Apollo has taken every possible step in the management and care of Maran’s condition in consultation with Indian as well as international specialists,” the hospital chairman said.

Apollo had done what any of the best institutions in the world would have done in such difficult clinical conditions. This was acknowledged by Methodist Hospital doctors, Reddy said.

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