Mother Teresa says `let me die' but agrees to more treatment


MOTHER TERESA of Calcutta is to undergo coronary angiography - after much persuasion - to determine whether sufficient quantities of blood are being pumped into her heart.

Doctors attending her in Calcutta yesterday said further treatment, which might include surgery, would depend on the angiographic findings.

They said Mother Teresa suffered from chronic ischaemic heart disease, a persistent condition which prevents enough blood reaching the heart.

Doctors said that though she had no breathing problems and slept comfortably, a mild "clinical heart failure persisted".

Mother Teresa was moved for the angiography yesterday to the B.M. Birla Heart Research Institute from the Woodlands Nursing Home to which she had been admitted last Friday, after doctors pleaded with her to undergo tests.

The 86-year-old nun, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her work amongst India's poor, destitute and dying, had refused all medical treatment and kept repeating, "Let me die, just like those I serve.

"I am all right. I am praying to God. I want to go back and work. Release me please," she repeatedly told her doctors after turning down all medical attention over the weekend.

Doctors at the nursing home said Mother Teresa felt that since India's poor and destitute could not afford the treatment she was receiving, there was no reason for her to avail of it either.

But last evening Dr S.K. Sen, head of the Nursing Home, said that if Mother Teresa needed "interventional treatment" she would remain at the Birla Heart Institute where she had undergone her second balloon angioplasty three years ago. Asked if she would have to undergo another, he said it all depended on the outcome of the tests.

Meanwhile Dr Patricia Aubanel, who treated Mother Teresa in the US for her heart ailment, arrived in Calcutta yesterday and joined the team of doctors attending her.