Basu still on ventilator, blood pressure fluctuating


Kolkata : Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) patriarch Jyoti Basu, in hospital since Jan 1 following a pneumonia attack, continued to be on ventilator support with no change in his condition since last evening, a hospital medical bulletin said Thursday.

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“His condition had deteriorated Wednesday morning and he was put on ventilator support. By Wednesday evening he showed some improvement. Today there was no further improvement in his condition,” a bulletin from the AMRI Hospital said.

“His blood pressure is fluctuating from time to time since last evening,” the private hospital said.

A bronchoscopy done on the 96-year-old former West Bengal chief minister Wednesday did not suggest any change of treatment.

“Small amount of liquid food is being given through rice tube,” said the bulletin, issued around noon.

Basu’s condition was being constantly monitored by an eight-member medical board, which will again examine him at 5 p.m. The next bulletin will be issued at 6 p.m.

Earlier in the morning, AMRI medical superintendent Debasish Sharma had told IANS: “He is stable with ventilator support.”

CPI-M politburo member Sitaram Yechuri, who visited Basu Thursday morning, claimed he was responding to a new course of antibiotics.

“The doctors said he is responding to the new antibiotic. He is better than what he was Wednesday morning,” Yechuri said.

“He has been a fighter all his life. And now also he is fighting.”

Yechuri said lot of disinformation was spread Wednesday about Basu’s condition.

“All this disinformation (being spread) should stop. We have to rely on the information the doctors are providing,” he added.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has already arrived in the city to call on the ailing leader. Among other political luminaries scheduled to visit him are CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat and CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan.

Basu had turned “critical” following breathing problems Wednesday morning.

He was admitted to the hospital in Salt Lake close to his Indira Bhawan residence Friday evening following chest congestion and infection. Later, a CT scan report revealed that Basu was suffering from pneumonia.

Basu also has a clot in the brain from a fall in his bathroom in 2008.

However, it has now reduced following medication.

Born 1914 in Kolkata, Basu was West Bengal chief minister from June 1977 until November 2000, heading a Left Front government led by his Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M). He stepped down voluntarily on health grounds.

One of the founding leaders of the CPI-M, Basu almost became India’s prime minister in 1996 at the head of a coalition government but the party vetoed the proposal.