Bengali screen goddess Suchitra Sen's condition deteriorated Saturday afternoon, prompting medics to rush emergency measures that stabilised her, a doctor said.
By the evening, the 82-year-old actress - under treatment at the Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU) of a nursing home here - was responding to non-intensive ventilation and other therapies, with her oxygen level going up.
Sen's oxygen saturation level had dipped in the afternoon, necessitating intensive non-invasive oxygen support and endotracheal intubation.
"Because of cough accumulation in the neck area, we resorted to emergency procedures like the endo-tracheal tube (a tube inserted through the mouth to ensure free air passage). She has responded to the therapies and is now stable," said Subrata Maitra, one of the team of experts monitoring her at the Belle Vue Clinic.
Sen's see-sawing health status had fans speculating about her being put on life support. However, the doctors scotched rumours.
She remains critical.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited the ailing legend for the third successive day Saturday.
A group of monks from the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission - of which Sen is a disciple - headquarters Belur Math blessed the actresss Saturday for her speedy recovery.
A two-member team of opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist led by Rabin Deb also went to the nursing home and enquired about Sen's condition from the doctors.
Banerjee said: "The whole world is waiting to hear updates on her health. The time is very crucial for her family and we must refrain from using words that could spur apprehensions about her health. We wish her a speedy recovery."
Her blood tests are satisfactory and her vital organs are fine, said a doctor.
However, her doctors ruled out any invasive ventilation (via tracheotomy) therapy for now.
"She is weak and needs oxygen support. She does not need life support," said Abhirup Chakraborty, another doctor from the team.
Sen is on an oral prescribed diet which is being supplemented with peripheral nutrition through intravenous channel to fulfil her dietary requirements, the medical bulletin said.
"The main issue is her oxygen saturation is fluctuating," said Chakraborty, adding that life-saving drugs are part of her prescribed regimen.
The actress, who has shunned media and public for decades since her retirement from the film industry, initially suffered chest infection, and was undergoing treatment for it at the nursing home since Dec 23 last. Her condition worsened Dec 28 night, and following further complications, she was put on non-invasive ventilation Jan 3.
Dubbed as the Greta Garbo of Bengali cinema, Sen is known for her performances in films "Deep Jwele Jaai" and "Uttar Falguni" in Bengali as well as Hindi movies "Devdas", "Bombai Ka Babu", "Mamta" and "Aandhi".
She won the best actress award for "Saat Paake Bandha" at the Moscow Film Festival in 1963.