Neurologists called to examine poet-activist Varavara Rao

Mumbai: Jailed writer and activist Varavara Rao, undergoing treatment at St George Hospital after testing positive for COVID-19, is also suffering from neurological problem and specialist doctors have been called to treat him, hospital officials said on Friday.

The 80-year-old, an accused in the Elgar Parishad- Maoist links case, was admitted to the state-run J J Hospital earlier this week and later shifted to St George Hospital, another government medical facility in south Mumbai.

Rao was admitted to the ICU Ward of the St George Hospital on Thursday evening, hours after his medical report showed he was coronavirus positive, doctors said.

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During treatment for COVID-19, doctors found his condition to be stable and absolutely fine, but it also came to light that he has neurological problem due to which he is not responding adequately in terms of “orientation”, the officials said.

His breathing and other medical parameters related to coronavirus are normal, they said.

Rao’s chest X-Ray and ECG reports were also normal, the officials said, adding doctors are now planning CT scan to get more clarity about his health, they said.

Neurologists from J J Hospital have been called to treat Rao and they will visit him later in the day, the officials said.

The poet-activist, lodged in the Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai under judicial custody, was admitted to the J J Hospital on Monday after he complained of giddiness, and was later shifted to its neurology department.

Rao’s family members along with several writers and activists had asked the Maharashtra government to immediately shift him to hospital for treatment, citing his deteriorating health condition.

Rao’s Telangana-based family members on Sunday sought the jail authorities to provide him immediate medical care and claimed that when the veteran activist contacted them last week, he was in a “delirious state and hallucinating”.

Rao has been in jail for about 22 months and had earlier approached the special NIA court, seeking bail on medical grounds and the prevailing COVID-19 situation.

On Monday, Rao filed two petitions in the Bombay High Court, seeking temporary bail owing to his ill-health and a direction to the jail authorities to produce his medical records and admit him to a state-run or private hospital.

Rao and nine other activists have been arrested in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, which was initially probed by the Pune Police and later transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

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