The Aditya Birla Hospital in Chinchwad once again found itself in the midst of a controversy after it allegedly refused to release the body of a two-and-a-half-year-old child over non-payment of bill by his parents. After Shiv Sainiks protested on the hospital premises,the authorities waived off over Rs 3 lakh and released the body. The total bill ran up to Rs 10.84 lakh.
The child,Aniket Pandey,was admitted to the hospital in the paediatric ICU (PICU) on August 26. He was suffering from a rare congenital disease,cranio-vertebral abnormality,causing cervical cord compression and flaccid quadriparesis. In this disease,the vertebraes get dislocated which leads to pressure on spinal cord and in turn stops working of nerves for breathing, said a doctor at the hospital.
Our paediatric team had informed the parents in the beginning that it was a very rare disease and it could be difficult to save the child. Our doctors advised surgery but counselled the parents about the outcome as there was very less chance of recovery even after the surgery, said Rekha Dubey,COO,Aditya Birla Memorial Hospital in a statement.
The boy was operated upon and we clearly informed the parents that it was not advisable to continue the treatment as there would be no improvement in the condition of the patient. We counselled the parents and relatives to take the kid home without wasting any more money. But the parents insisted on keeping the child at the hospital and signed the consent letter, said Dubey.
The child died on Monday and the total bill amounted to Rs 10.84 lakh. The parents had paid Rs 7.38 lakh and refused to pay the remaining sum. However,today after discussions,the body was released and the remaining amount of Rs 3,46,000 was waived off, added Dubey.
Shiv Sena leader Shrirang Barne,who is a local corporator,said,I received a call from the father of the child. He told me that he was a tea vendor and mortgaged his wifes jewellery and borrowed money from relatives in a desperate bid to save the child. The father told me that he was hopeful that his child would survive and doctors kept promising that they were doing their best, said Barne.
After I received the call,I went to the hospital and requested the management to waive off a certain amount of the bill,which they did, he added.
Barne said the hospital is highly reputed and people from across the city come here with high hopes. However,the hospital has failed to handle the situation arising out of high medical bills. There have been at least 10-15 incidents over past three-four years when the hospital has refused to release the body after dispute over bills. This has created unruly scenes on the hospital premises,which have spilled on to the roads. I have requested the hospital management to put up a board outside its premises stating that only people who can afford their costly treatment should get admitted to the hospital, said Barne.
The hospital sources,however,said families of patients are regularly updated about the patients health and the amount of bills,but the families insist to continue the treatment despite high bills.