12 days on, he gave up | india | Hindustan Times
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12 days on, he gave up

AFTER STRUGGLING on bed number one of the Hinduja Hospital's ICU for 12 days, Pramod Mahajan breathed his last at 4.10 p.m. when the multi-parameter monitor showed a flat line under heart function.

india Updated: May 04, 2006 14:02 IST

AFTER STRUGGLING on bed number one of the Hinduja Hospital's ICU for 12 days, Pramod Mahajan breathed his last at 4.10 p.m. when the multi-parameter monitor showed a flat line under heart function.

After a 30-minutes wait, Hinduja CEO Pramod Lele made the official announcement at 4.53 p.m. to an impatient media already aware of Mahajan's death.

The BJP leader, who was shot at by his brother Pravin on April 22, began sinking on Tuesday night at about 10 p.m. His blood pressure plummeted despite the high level of blood-pressure medication.

He finally succumbed to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) -- a life-threatening complication that Mahajan had been battling for four days, said Dr Gustad Daver, the head of surgical team treating Mahajan.

At about 11 on Wednesday morning, Mahajan's condition deteriorated further. The accumulation of fluid and secretions in his lungs (despite a procedure to drain them out on Tuesday afternoon) blocked his airways, making it very difficult for any oxygen to reach the lungs.

The upper limit of his blood pressure swung between 30 and 50 (normal is 120). The team of intensivists, lead by Dr Farhad Kapadia, tried reviving him. During the final hours over 10 doctors, including surgeons, intensivists and anaesthetists, attempted to save Mahajan. "We left no stone unturned. Every mode of resuscitation was used," Dr Vinod Chandiramani, a general and laparoscopic surgeon treating Mahajan, told HT.

At around 2 p.m., Hinduja's team of surgeons met the family to inform them that Mahajan was "very serious". He required an increasing amount of oxygen but the inflammation in his lungs showed no sign of retreating. Inflammation of the damaged pancreas, bacteria in the bloodstream and multi-organ dysfunction further complicated the battle Mahajan's doctors were waging to save his life.

On Tuesday, the doctors had called for nitric oxide from Delhi in a "last-ditch attempt" to control the fast-progressing ARDS, an intensivist treating Mahajan told HT. Nitric oxide is not routinely offered to patients with ARDS but is used as 'salvage' therapy for those with life-threatening ARDS despite maximal conventional support.

"One of the bullets travelled through his diaphragm and grazed the plura (outer covering of lungs), which made the ARDS -- a complication we anticipated -- worse," said Chandiramani.

When Mahajan passed away Dr Daver and Dr Manoj Agni, the cardio-thoracic surgeon treating the BJP leader, spent a long time consoling the family and Mahajan's close friends.

Mahajan will be cremated on Thursday at the Shivaji Park crematorium. The funeral procession will begin at 10 a.m.