Tamil Nadu CM on 'critical' life support, Tamil Nadu on edge

Tamil Nadu chief minister J JayalalithaaTamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa's condition is ''very critical'' after she suffered a cardiac arrest on Sunday evening, Apollo Hospitals said on Monday. The hospital said she is on life-support system and that doctors are continually monitoring her health.

A brief hospital statement said the AIADMK leader ''continues to be very critical and is on ECMO and other life support systems,'' but refuted rumours of Jayalalithaa's condition.

Apollo Hospitals said that a team of doctors also comprising experts from the AIIMS was continuously monitoring the health of CM Jayalalithaa and denied as ''totally baseless and false'' reports that she was no more.

AIADMK lowered its flag at the party headquarters in Royapettah though there was no official word on Jayalalithaa's latest condition.

''Our team of expert doctors continue to closely monitor and treat the Honourable Chief Minister. However her condition remains critical,'' stated an Apollo Hospital press statement by Dr Richard Beale

''Her condition is critical, but I have seen patients recovering from such illness; she is a fighter,'' said Tamilisai Soundararajan.

She is being cared for by a highly expert multidisciplinary team and is now on extra corporal life support: Dr.Richard Beale said. ''Situation extremely grave but can confirm everything possible being done to give her best chance of surviving,'' the doctor added.

ECMO or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation is a life support system used for patients with life threatening heart or lung problems.

Apollo said the 68-year-old Jayalalithaa, who has been in hospital since September, was being treated and closely monitored by experts.

Meanwhile, crowds began to mass outside the hospital from Sunday evening as news that Jayalalithaa had suffered a cardiac arrest spread like wild fire.

MDMK chief Vaiko, once her supporter turned opponent, hoped she will come out of the crisis.

''The best medical treatment has been given, we should not speculate anything; I wish she will come out of danger ... She detained me under POTA but apart from politics I treat her like sister. She will come out of crisis,'' Vaiko said addressing her supporters gathered near the hospital.

Maharashtra governor C Vidyasagar Rao, who has additional charge of Tamil Nadu, visited the hospital on Sunday night.

But he did not issue any statement after his hospital visit. On earlier occasions, Raj Bhavan used to issue statements each time he visited Apollo Hospital.

Apollo said on Sunday evening that Jayalalithaa ''is being treated and monitored by a team of experts including cardiologists, pulmonologist and the critical care specialists''.

It said Richard Beale, a doctor in London, had been consulted and that he concurred with the line of treatment.

In an another tweet, the hospital said, ''The Hon'ble CM is the beloved leader of the masses. Please join us in praying for her speedy recovery. #GodblessAmma #Jayalalithaa.''

A large number of police personnel was deployed at the Apollo hospital. Security was also stepped up across the sprawling state where Jayalalithaa enjoys widespread support.

Tamil Nadu ministers and legislators gathered at the hospital along with a mass of AIADMK activists and Jayalalithaa fans.

Many broke down outside the hospital as they collected behind police barricades.

Some men and women, their hands folded, offered silent prayers for Jayalalithaa's early recovery. Some tried to enter the hospital premises but were restrained.

Jayalalithaa's posters were held high by her supporters. Fans also offered special prayers in temples.

President Pranab Mukherjee joined the political class in wishing Jayalalithaa a speedy recovery.

''Distressed to hear about Jayalalithaa suffering a cardiac arrest, my prayers for her speedy recovery,'' said a post on the President's Twitter account.

DMK chief M. Karunanidhi and his son and party leader M.K. Stalin also conveyed their best wishes for her recovery.

''Praying for Jayalalithaaji's quick recovery. I hope she gets better very soon,'' said Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her concern. ''May God bless her.''

''Maharashtra prays for her speedy recovery,'' posted Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Rajasthan counterpart Vasundhara Raje tweeted: ''May she get recover soon.''

RJD chief Lalu Prasad said: ''Totally worried… Let's all pray for her.''

Meanwhile, authorities in Kerala strengthened security on the border with Tamil Nadu. Police were put on alert in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Idukki and Palakkad districts that border Tamil Nadu.