Dismissing rumours that Vice President Venkaiah Naidu had to pay the hospital bills of late singer S P Balasubrahmanyam during his last days, the artiste’s family Sunday said such claims were “offensive” and hurtful.
Balasubrahmanyam was admitted to MGM Healthcare from August 5 until his death on Friday. Soon after, rumours started circulating on social media that his family was unable to pay the bills, had to seek help from “Delhi”, and that it was the Vice President who stepped in.
Balasubrahmanyam’s son S P Charan said on Sunday: “There are rumours about bills and that we paid something and there was balance, and that we requested the Tamil Nadu government but they did not reciprocate, and I had gone to the Vice President of India and they had reciprocated instantaneously… Also, that unless we had paid the balance amount, the hospital was not releasing my dad’s body for last rites. Let me just say one thing, this is all a big hogwash. I don’t know why people do this, without even consulting us…”
He added that the situation had forced him to issue a clarification even as the entire family was still grieving his father’s death.
“They (rumour-mongers) don’t seem to realise how offensive this was for people associated with this issue. It was very disheartening. Very sad that we still have such people around us… SPB was a person who would have forgiven this person who spread this rumour,” he said.
A senior doctor in MGM Healthcare said several individuals and groups had volunteered to pay the singer’s bills — including his fans and Tamil groups in Tokyo, London and Paris. “There were many more individuals from Tamil Nadu who volunteered to do the same as the hospital stay was long. But some doctors who treated him had decided to not charge any fee for the legendary musician’s treatment. The management also had taken a similar decision in my knowledge,” the doctor said.
Sources said the family had paid a certain sum after the first 15 days of Balasubrahmanyam’s treatment and the remaining amount wasn’t accepted by the hospital out of respect for the late singer.
A member of MGM Healthcare’s Board refused to comment on the management’s decision to not accept pending bills.
“Patient confidentiality is very important. Only thing I want to clarify is we were accountable to his family alone — his son and daughter. Nobody else,” he added.
“But let me tell you, whatever (rumours) people are putting out are unfortunate and distasteful. This was not the time for that. We are Tamil people, we are much bigger fans of SPB (as the singer was known fondly among fans) than anyone else. We don’t need a single rupee from them,” the Board member further said.