The family of a 55-year-old Covid-19 positive patient has claimed that a Kolkata nursing home kept his dead body on a ventilator for two days to extract payment for medical bills, prompting police to investigate the allegations.
A resident of Hooghly district, Sheikh Sabir Ali, was admitted to the nursing home at Park Circus with breathing troubles on August 25 and later tested positive for the virus. On August 29, his family saw him on the ventilator, sources said. Two days later after paying Rs 47,000 in medical bills, the family said they insisted on seeing Ali but were informed that he had died.
“After we paid the bill, the hospital suddenly told us that he was no more. He was kept on the ventilator for two days despite his death. We want action against the hospital,” said Ali’s son Sheikh Jahir Abbas.
Rejecting the allegation, an employee of the nursing home claimed, “The patient was on the ventilator, and we immediately informed the family about the death. Suddenly, they felt that he had died earlier and started protesting.”
The family on Tuesday refused to sign a Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) form for cremation and demanded post mortem.
A complaint was filed at Karaya police station. “The body has been sent to NRS Hospital for autopsy. We are investigating,” said a police officer.
West Bengal Health Commission chairman Justice (retired) Ashim Kumar Banerjee said he had not received any complaint against the Park Circus hospital.
It has taken several steps for the welfare of patients after receiving complaints against private hospitals for alleged price gouging. It has asked hospitals to eschew overcharging, fix bed charges, give discounts on medicines and cap consultation fees.