Two days after a fire in its generator forced it to shift 38 patients to eight other hospitals, Apex hospital in Mulund re-admitted 16 of them.
The patients’ kin are now complaining of huge bills in the last two days and asking Apex hospital to pay the bills of other hospitals.
At least four Covid-19 patients are in serious condition. One patient, Madhumati Gawde (60), remains critical in Fortis hospital where she was transferred on Monday night from Apex hospital’s ICU. Her worried family says Fortis hospital has billed them Rs 2.18 lakh already for two days of hospitalisation.
“We cannot afford so much. We want to shift her out of the hospital but doctors said she is too critical to be moved,” said Amit Aparaj, her son-in-law. “We were not even consulted by Apex hospital before she was shifted. We have approached Apex to mediate on the billing issue,” he added.
Gawde is a diabetic and has been admitted with Covid-19 since October 10. Her bill until October 12 at Apex hospital was Rs 1.40 lakh. On October 12, following the power outage, the hospital had to rely on generators to support its ICUs and ventilators. At 5.30 pm, an overheated generator caught fire forcing the hospital to shift all of its 38 patients to eight other hospitals. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has initiated an inquiry into the fire and the transfer process that has so far led to the death of two patients.
At least 11 patients were admitted in Fortis hospital. Apart from Gawde, Virendra Singh, who succumbed on Tuesday morning, was billed Rs 1.60 lakh for 12 hours of treatment. His family refused to make the payment and asked Apex hospital to pay.
A spokesperson from Fortis hospital refused to comment on the billing issue. But Madhura Patkar, from administration of Apex hospital, said, “We are in discussion with BMC and Fortis hospital to reduce the billing amount. We cannot pay such a huge amount.”
Former MP Kirit Somaiya said, “Apex hospital and BMC should have checked with Fortis first before referring 28 patients there. Fortis hospital was not prepared to admit so many patients. Apex should handle hospitalisation charges of patients, not patients’ families.”
Eleven patients were finally admitted in Fortis, other patients were transferred to Platinum, Aastha, Manisha, Velam, Seven Hills and BMC jumbo facility. Somaiya said for five hours Apex hospital could not provide oxygen support to Covid-19 patients after the power outage. “There should be an inquiry into this. The death of Virendra Singh was due to lack of oxygen, he was otherwise stable and recovering,” he added.
Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner in BMC, said, “We are looking into medical negligence if any by the hospital. The inquiry will check if the generator was properly maintained or not. We have appointed an officer from the Mechanical and Engineering department to also inspect other equipment in the hospital. Till then, we will ask the hospital to not admit any patients.”
Kakani said since Apex hospital shifted the patients to other hospitals, they have to bear the expenses of those hospitals. BMC’s four-member committee comprises T ward assistant commissioner Kishor Gandhi, Dr Pradeep Angre, dean in Mulund jumbo facility, an official from M&E department and medical officer of T ward.
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