Vilasrao Deshmukh is dead

Vilasrao Deshmukh is dead

Union minister and former CM was 67

Vilasrao Deshmukh is dead

Vilasrao Deshmukh, veteran Congress leader from Maharashtra and Union Minister for Science and Technology, died of cardiac arrest on Tuesday following multi-organ failure at a private hospital near here. He was 67.

“Vilasrao Deshmukh died at 1:40 pm,” the multi-speciality Global Hospital Chairman, Dr Ravindranath, announced to reporters.

The body of Deshmukh will be flown by a special flight from here early Wednesday, to his home town Babhalgaon in Latur for the last rites. The Maharashtra government has announced a three-day state mourning.

Deshmukh, who was shifted here from a private hospital in Mumbai on August 6 in a very serious condition, was suffering from “liver failure that led to his kidneys failing and other complications; his heart had also been supported by various drugs,” said Dr Ravindranath. Deshmukh was under the personal care of Dr Mohammed Rela, an expert in liver surgery and transplantation.

Deshmukh, who was also former Chief Minister of Maharashtra twice, is survived by wife Vaishali, and three sons Amit, Riteish and Dheeraj. They were at his side when the end came after his condition deteriorated on Tuesday  morning. Genelia D’souza, actor-wife of Riteish Deshmukh, a noted Bollywood actor himself, was also here along with relatives.

Vilasrao responded to treatment in the last two days and his “vital signs stabilised despite being critical,” the doctors said. Though his sons wished to donate part of their liver (for an auxiliary transplant), the doctors said given the patient’s condition, “it would be better for him to receive a whole organ from a cadaver as that would aid recovery faster.” The Central Minister was thus listed in the ‘super urgent category’ to receive a liver.

Elusive organ

Despite the best efforts of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha, State Health Minister and others to save Vilasrao, the patient “couldn’t get a liver” for nearly four days.

On Monday evening, a liver was available (of a 31-year-old auto driver declared brain dead in an accident). “By the time our team went to harvest the organ, the donor had died of cardiac arrest,” Dr Ravindranath said.

On Tuesday morning, Vilasrao’s condition started deteriorating rapidly, leading to his end. “If we had got the liver in time, he would have had a chance of surviving,” the doctors said, adding, there was a ‘lesson’ in Vilasrao’s case and hopefully his death would improve “public awareness of organ donation and motivate governments across the country to do more for organ donation,” the doctors said. This morning when he was sinking, three livers were available, one from Maharashtra and two from Chennai, but it was again too late, said Dr Ravindranath.

Condolences for the departed leader poured in from all over. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha and DMK President M Karunanidhi were among those who mourned Deshmukh’s passing.