Congress president Sonia Gandhi is understood to have undergone a surgery for cervical cancer at Memorial Sloan—Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) private hospital—in New York on Thursday.
The surgery, said informed medical sources, was successful and Sonia is now in the hospital’s intensive care unit and recuperating well.
The surgery, conducted by a team of doctors led by leading Indian-American physician Dattatreyudu Nori, took about an hour, said the sources. Sonia may have to spend up to a month’s time for post-surgery follow-up treatment. It is not clear if she will be spending time in MSKCC for the whole duration of the post-surgical treatments.
The sources said the nature of the post-surgical follow-up treatment, including radiation therapy, would be known in a day or two, on the basis of cystography reports.
A recent survey by a most popular American woman's magazine, The Ladies' Home Journal, recognised Dr Nori as “one of the top doctors in America for the treatment of cancers in women.” He is currently professor and executive vice chairman of the Radiation Oncology Department at The New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. He had previously been associated with MCKCC, the world’s oldest and largest hospital for treating cancer.
Reports from the US suggested that senior IAS officer Pulok Chatterji, who is set to return to Delhi as Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister in October from his current assignment in the US as Executive Director, World Bank, is understood to have arranged for Dr Nori to perform the surgery on Sonia at MSKCC where she was admitted as an “unlisted” patient. Chatterji has been a close aide of Sonia for a long time.
Sonia’s children— Rahul and Priyanka — and son-in-law Robert Vadra are with her. In view of the post-surgery treatments, it may take up to a month for the 64-year-old Sonia to return to India.
In the national capital, the Congress party, however, on Friday was very brief with the medical information regarding its leader, leading to speculations over the kind of ailment she suffered from.
A brief statement put out by the party said Sonia underwent a surgery on August 4 and the surgeon has indicated that the operation has been successful. It, however, did not disclose the reasons that necessitated Sonia to undergo the surgery. Nor did the statement mention the hospital or the country where she underwent the surgery.
“Presently Gandhi is in ICU,” the statement released by party’s chief spokesperson Janardan Dwivedi said, without elaborating. The statement requested that Sonia’s privacy be respected.
“This is a personal matter that pertains to her health and medical treatment. Her family requests that her privacy be respected,” Dwivedi said. Indicating that Sonia had a medical condition that required surgery, the party on Thursday announced the setting up of a four-member committee to look after the organisational affairs in her absence, comprising Rahul Gandhi, A K Antony, Ahmed Patel and Dwivedi.