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Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Hospital refuses to release Covid patient’s body for 3 days over non-payment of bill: MP Barne intervenes, ZP probes

The incident came to light on Monday when Barne was on a visit to Talegaon area.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
Updated: May 5, 2021 1:57:48 am
MP Shrirang Barne talking to hospital staff at the hospital premises on Monday.

A private hospital in Talegaon area in Pune district’s Maval taluka refused to release the body of a 50-year-old patient —who had died while undergoing treatment for Covid-19— for nearly three days as his family was unable to pay the medical bill.

It was only after Maval MP Shrirang Barne took up the issue with the Chief Minister’s Office and the district administration that Dr Bhausaheb Sardesai Hospital waived the bill and handed over the body of the patient, Ganesh Loke, to his family for last rites. The Zilla Parishad has ordered a probe into the matter.

The incident came to light on Monday when Barne was on a visit to Talegaon area. “The son of the deceased approached me when I was in Talegaon area. He complained that the hospital was refusing to hand over his father’s body as the family could not pay the bill,” Barne told The Indian Express on Tuesday.

The Shiv Sena leader said he went to the hospital along with local police officials and questioned the administration.

Dr Bhausaheb Sardesai Hospital, run by the Maharashtra Institute of Medical Education and Research, has 100 beds.

Ganesh Loke, a vegetable vendor, was admitted to the hospital with dipping oxygen saturation levels on April 23. As his condition worsened, he was shifted to the ICU, where he died five days later.

His son, Sujit Loke, told The Indian Express on Tuesday, “The hospital first gave me a bill of around Rs 70,000. I contacted various relatives but could not get any help. The hospital asked us to find out whether the bill would be covered under any government scheme. I tried to find out but could not get any leads. The hospital refused to hand over the body… the next day, the hospital staff made me run from one department to another… I desperately pleaded to them to release the body but they didn’t do so.”

Sujit said the third day the same thing happened until the afternoon, when he came to know that Barne was in Talegaon. “I approached the MP who visited the hospital, along with police personnel, and questioned the hospital administration,” he said.

“I was shocked to find out the hospital had behaved in an insensitive manner… this was highly objectionable. In the past also, I have received complaints of bad behaviour by hospitals with patients and their families,” said Barne.

The Sena leader said he then contacted the Chief Minister’s Office and the district administration. “I spoke to the Zilla Parishad CEO as well,” he said.

When contacted, ZP CEO Ayush Prasad said, “After the MP complained to us, we immediately took up the matter with the hospital administration, which has waived the full bill.” “We have launched an investigation to find out all the facts,” he said.

Prasad said the hospital is in the only one in Talegaon area which can treat serious patients. “We had received a few complaints against the hospital in the last one year and had taken them up with the hospital administration, which resolved the issues,” he said.

In a statement, the hospital administration said, “The allegation that we did not release the body for non-payment of bill is not true. We try to cover patients under the Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Arogya Yojana as much as possible. Otherwise, we give the patients maximum discount. In view of the request from the MP… we have waived the full bill…”.

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