PM’s marathon heart surgery successful (Night Lead)

January 24th, 2009 - 11:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Jan 24 (IANS) The marathon heart surgery performed on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here was “successful”, a government spokesperson confirmed late Saturday evening.”The operation has been concluded. It has been successful. The PM has been wheeled into the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) at 8.55 p.m. Currently the doctors are briefing the family. After that they will brief you,” Deepak Sandhu, the media adviser to the Prime Minister’s Office, told reporters at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), where the surgery was carried out.

An 11-member panel of doctors, led by Ramakant Panda, vice-chairman of the Asian Heart Institute in Mumbai, is attending to the prime minister.

The prime minister was in the operation theatre for over 13 hours, though it was not immediately clear how long the “beating heart” surgery to bypass blockages in the arteries went on.

According to D.K. Sharma, medical superintendent of the AIIMS, the doctors performed the “beating heart” bypass surgery, a long procedure, on the 76-year-old prime minister, as that was “less risky”.

“We will be monitoring him closely after the operation so that post-operative complications do not arise. The next few hours will be critical,” said a senior doctor who said he was not authorised to speak officially.

Manmohan Singh was wheeled into Operation Theatre-5 at about 7.30 a.m.

The prime minister, discharged from AIIMS Thursday following an angiography a day earlier, was re-admitted Friday after he felt uneasy at his 7 Race Course Road residence in the morning.

Tests over two days revealed that Singh, who became prime minister in May 2004 heading a Congress-led government, had multiple arterial blockages.

Even at his age, Manmohan Singh keeps himself fit doing yoga, is conscious of his diet and packs a punishing 18-hour work schedule despite having undergone a bypass surgery 18 years ago.

While the operation was on relatives of the prime minister offered prayers in guudwaras in Punjab and in Kolkata as he underwent the operation.

“We offered prayers at the Golden Temple for his speedy recovery. We are now heading for Delhi to be with his family,” said Surjit Singh Kohli, half-brother of the prime minister.

Prayers were also conducted in churches, schools and other places in the country.

Since the prime minister will take a few weeks to fully recover, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who stepped in for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for certain duties. received visiting Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Mukherjee has taken on the prime minister’s protocol duties and also holds additional charge of the finance ministry.

Receiving the visiting dignitary, Mukherjee explained that the prime minister was indisposed. “Our prime minister is indisposed, hence I am receiving you,” he said.

This will also be the first time that a prime minister will skip the Republic Day celebrations. Defence Minister A.K. Antony will stand in for Manmohan Singh for the ceremonies.

Antony will lead the nation in paying homage to the martyrs by laying a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti, the memorial to the Unknown Soldier, Monday morning, a defence ministry spokesperson said.

Meanwhile the Congress party clarified that there would not be any change in the leadership on account of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s bypass surgery.

“There cannot be two prime ministers and under the constitution, there can only be one prime minister,” said Congress general secretary Verappa Moily.

Asked if the party was contemplating any change in leadership, Moily said: “The question is irrelevant”.

Moily showed his confidence in the leadership of Manmohan Singh and said that the prime minister would resume his duties in two weeks.

“He is a man of strong will power. I am confident that he will be back to his duty within two weeks and would come back with more energy,” Moily said.

This was the second time Manmohan Singh underwent a bypass surgery. The first time was 18 years ago in Britain. In 2004, he had an angioplasty to open clogged arteries.

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