LISTEN: Madiba's doctor details dramatic, touch-and-go event months before death

Late struggle icon Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela would have celebrated his 99th birthday today.

Mandela's medical doctor, Dr Vejay Ramlakan, has written his accounts of Tata Madiba's last days.

Ramlakan was the head of Mandela's medical team and witnessed first-hand what the former president was experiencing in terms of his health and medical, political, financial and security needs.

The doctor says the book, Mandela's Last Years, attempts to set the record straight amid conspiracies and speculation surrounding his passing.

We were asked to tell story as it happened. We happened to have known what took place and to sift fiction from fact and give context to important things.

Dr Vejay Ramlakan, Nelson Mandela's medical doctor

Dr Ramlakan lifted the lid on some of the revelations detailed in the book, including resuscitating Mandela a few months before his death on 5 December 2013.

We didn't say the ambulance caught fire. A cloud of smoke enveloped the ambulance [carrying Madiba]. Basically, the engine of the ambulance had blown.

Dr Vejay Ramlakan, Nelson Mandela's medical doctor

On that night, Madiba had stopped breathing when he was turned on his left side. We managed to get things going and thereafter he was fighting for his life.

Dr Vejay Ramlakan, Nelson Mandela's medical doctor

Imagine? You have the most famous man on the planet in an ambulance that has caught on fire, we needed to establish things very fast. Adrenalin takes over.

Dr Vejay Ramlakan, Nelson Mandela's medical doctor

The book documents the complex medical challenges, the interactions between family members and staff, the scrutiny from the press, and the actions and responses of Mandela himself.

Take a listen to Dr Vejay Ramlakan describe some of the dramatic events:


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