The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Biswas critical, doctors at crossroads
- Team of seven differs with expert from UK on whether to drain out brain fluid

Calcutta, March 20: The condition of state CPM secretary Anil Biswas, who was admitted to a private hospital following a massive brain haemorrhage on Saturday evening, is still 'critical but stable'.

Although Biswas's neurological status remained unchanged, his pulse and blood pressure became stable, a medical bulletin released this afternoon said. 'Repeat CT scan this morning shows marginal improvement.'

Biswas fell ill at home after a hectic eight-hour day at the party headquarters during which he ate nothing. He chaired a marathon meeting of the CPM state committee and was about to rush for the station from home to catch a train to Malda for party work when he started feeling unwell.

That night, an hour-long operation was carried out to drain a clot in the right temporo-parietal region of his brain.

Doctors attending to him today appeared divided in their approach to the management of the patient whose vital organs run the risk of coming under strain if he continues to be on the life support system too long.

The difference in approach became evident in the morning when the doctors debated a third surgical intervention for lessening the pressure that built up in the ventricles on both sides of the brain following the second surgery last evening.

London-based neurosurgeon R.P. Sengupta, who was contacted by the CPM for advice through its UK network, reached Calcutta this morning ' about 12 hours late because of a dislocation of his flight schedule.

He examined the reports and suggested an immediate ventriclostomy ' using an external channel ' on the relatively unaffected left side of the brain to drain the cerebro- spinal fluid. The process, Sengupta said, would help release the pressure of the cerebro-spinal fluid.

The suggestion, however, did not find favour with the medical board overseeing Biswas's health.

The seven-member board headed by R.N. Roy and including S.P. Garai, Sandip Chatterjee, B. Mahanti, Trishit Roy and S.B. Roy decided not to go for the third intervention as they did not see 'any further clinical deterioration' of his condition.

The ventriclostomy was put on hold in view of Biswas's improved renal functioning and stable blood pressure. 'We hope to dissolve the blood material with medicines,' one of the doctors said.

Doctors said a shunt was implanted yesterday to drain the cerebro-spinal fluid into Biswas's peritoneum (or the space around the intestines).

Another CT scan will be done tomorrow and the board will review his condition.

Sources said CPM politburo member Brinda Karat left for Delhi this evening with a set of Biswas's medical reports for consultation with experts there.

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