The Apollo Gleneagles Hospital in Kolkata was, on Friday, accused of negligence and causing the death of a patient. It allegedly refused to allow the patient’s transfer to a government hospital for treatment unless all dues were settled.
The accusations came just days after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asked private hospitals in the state to not harass patients and their families. Sanjoy Roy, 30, was admitted over a week ago to the hospital after suffering critical injuries in an accident. With treatment costs reaching to up to Rs 8 lakh, the patient’s family decided to shift him to the government-run SSKM Hospital.
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On Thursday, the family, with the help of Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee, managed to secure a bed for the patient. They requested the private hospital to allow them to shift him. However, they alleged, Apollo refused to release him till the bill was settled.
“We had paid about 60 per cent of the bill and assured them that we would pay the rest. But they (Apollo) refused. Later, we arranged money from friends and relatives and even produced the document of our fixed deposit as guarantee that the full amount would be paid. By the time they agreed to allow us to shift him, it was too late,” said Ruby, wife of the deceased. According to hospital authorities, the total bill amount was Rs 7.23 lakh and the family had paid Rs 4.33 lakh.
By the time Sanjoy was taken to SSKM Hospital, his condition had deteriorated. He died on Friday morning. He is survived by wife, two-year-old daughter and his parents.
Appllo hospital authorities admitted that they took the fixed deposit documents from the family but claimed that they did not demand it.
“We arranged our ambulance and shifted him to SSKM hospital. The treatment never stopped. The family wanted to give us a cheque, which we usually did not accept. But we took it on humanitarian grounds. They also produced documents of fixed deposit. We accepted it,” said Joy Bose, hospital chief operating officer.
The hospital later said they were ready to refund the amount the family paid for Sanjoy’s treatment.
Sanjoy’s friend Prabir Mukherjee, meanwhile, accused the hospital of unethical practices.
“They only wanted to inflate the bill. He was not getting better. They did not inform us about what was wrong with him. They made his wife sign a document for a CT scan and left him for four hours. They put him on ventilator, saying that the CT scan report is fine. Every day we heard different things from doctors regarding his condition. He died because of medical negligence,” he alleged.
Govt seeks report
The present case attracted the attention of the government. It ordered the hospital to send a report in the matter. Later, former transport minister and TMC leader Madan Mitra arrived at SSKM hospital to meet the family. From there, he called up the Apollo hospital management and admonished them.
“It is better to shut down the hospital rather than turning it into a crematorium. It is very unfortunate. You should refund the money to the family,” he said.
The parents of the deceased demanded action strong action against the hospital and said they did not need the money. “No money can bring my son back. They were inhumane and they need to be punished. This should not happen to any another person,” Sanjoy’s mother said.