In Kalyan, 47-year-old Gopal Singh Gariya’s daily routine has reduced to making several rounds at Shree Devi Hospital, where his wife has been forcefully confined for a month and half. He’ll have to do it until he clears the hospital bill. If he is not at the hospital with her, he is visiting various trusts for medical aid.
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Shanta Gopal Singh (43) has been living in the private Kalyan hospital for four months now, even after her treatment got over on November 4, because the family has been unable to clear a whopping Rs 6.85 lakh bill. Shanta, a typist and currently the only earning member in family, was hit by a speeding bus in Kalyan on August 28.
The Dombivali resident was first rushed by locals to Rukmini Bai Hospital but later shifted to the multi-specialty Shree Devi Hospital for plastic surgery. According to Gariya, her right leg was badly injured and required skin grafting. She was admitted under Dr Mohammad Dhuru and underwent three surgeries in which plastic surgeons extracted and stitched skin on her entire right leg.
Gariya, previously a business property dealer, switched to security supervising after facing losses. The family borrowed funds amounting to Rs 1.76 lakh from various trusts to pay for Shanta’s bills. “The hospital told me that the bills would come up to Rs 2 lakh. But at the time of discharge, they asked me to pay Rs 6.85 lakh. From where can I get so much money?” he says.
He has already approached various trusts for aid. When the hospital stationed security guards around his wife to ensure she does not leave, he even visited the Mahatma Phule police station for help. “Even the police said they cannot do anything about it. I have told the hospital to give me some time to collect funds but they are still not discharging my wife.” Gariya has alleged that the hospital staff keeps harassing his wife for recovery of dues.
Shanta lies on hospital bed entire day. Her treatment is over and a nurse checks her blood pressure every day. Meanwhile, Gariya also had to quit his job three months ago after his office refused to extend his leaves.
According to Advocate Masood Peshimam, who Gariya approached for legal assistance, a complaint has been filed with local police detailing various sections of wrongful confinement by the hospital management.
When contacted, hospital administrator Anita Bhatt said the patient was given concessions and a donation of Rs 1 lakh from chief minister’s fund. “We also informed them before each surgery. It is our hospital’s policy not to discharge a patient until they clear the bill. In this case, they still have to pay Rs 4.5 lakh after subtracting the concession given to them,” Bhatt said.