During the course of Jayalalithaa’s treatment at Apollo and in the immediate aftermath of her death, several conspiracy theories were floated, adding to the despair over her ill health and death. The secrecy which shrouded her death further fueled these rumours.
In an attempt to dispel the rumours, doctors of Apollo Hospital and Dr. Richard Beale from the London Bridge Hospital who attended to her in her final days held a press conference in Chennai, organised by the Tamil Nadu government. The doctors said that “there was nothing unusual in this case from a medical perspective.”
Two rumours which continue to be passed around and believed in with much conviction even today are that Jayalalithaa was “poisoned”, which led to her ill health, and that she was given “wrong medication for diabetes” because of which her health worsened and she needed to be taken to the hospital.
Flatly denying all such theories, the doctors said that there is no question of poisoning. “Anyone who goes through medical history properly will realise how silly this question is. It is clear what the disease process was. There was nothing mysterious and she was given the best treatment,” said Dr. Beale, when asked about “slow poison”.
On being asked about the allegation of wrong medication, all the doctors said that it was wrong to say so.
The rumours of Jayalalithaa being administered ‘poison’ by Sasikala can be traced back to a 2012 report in Tehelka, which refers to “allegations” of a Sasikala-appointed nurse administering “small quantities of poison” to Jayalalithaa. The report was never taken seriously initially, and perhaps never addressed even by those mentioned owing to the ridiculousness of the charge.
But in Jayalalithaa’s final days and after her death, the rumours started doing the rounds yet again, with the Tehelka report being passed around as substantiation.
The charge that Jayalalithaa was given wrong medication for diabetes before she was admitted to the hospital gained traction after an email written by Barkha Dutt to her colleagues at NDTV was leaked, in which Dutt writes about an off-record conversation with the ‘Reddy sisters’ (Reddy family owns Apollo). In the email, she says she was told that Jayalalithaa “was being given wrong medication for diabetes… before she was brought to” Apollo.
The former CM’s team of doctors has dispelled both these charges, stating that the detailed medical history of the case will show the progress of the disease was usual, the treatment given to her best and that there were no traces of poison.