Hyderabad: The battle against COVID-19 has exposed, once again, the chinks in the armour of our health care system. On one hand is the struggling public health system, trying desperately to cover its inadequacies, while meeting the challenge of the deadly global pandemic. On the other is the private health industry, which has mostly been absent from the fight against the novel coronavirus, or is worried about how to minimize its financial losses by charging hefty bills, turning down patients or forcing them to be tested for the virus.
Over three instances of inflated bills were captured in a week in the city. These instances indicate how COVID has become a good way to make money for corporate hospitals.
The first instance was reported by Mohammed Abbas whose mother was admitted to KIMS Hospital Begumpet as she complained of breathlessness. The lady was admitted on June 19. Until July 2 the doctors informed her that she recovered well. Meanwhile, the son had already told the doctors that he is short of funds and cannot pay any further. Taking note of this, the hospital management switched the patient’s treatment with a cheaper one and stated that his balance amount was Rs. two lakhs. Later, on July 3 the hospital declared the patient dead and asked him to pay 11 lakh.
On the other hand, in another instance, the son was asked to pay Rs. five lakh in order to get back the body of his dead mother. The mother had complained of breathing difficulties when she was bought to the hospital. A bill of about 11 lakhs bill was charged in just eight days. “The doctors had always told us that she was recovering. Only on June 30 did the doctors suddenly inform us about her death and they asked to pay an extra Rs. five Lakh to take the dead body along.”
The third instance which was reported on July 5 was about a lady doctor Dr Sultana who was charged Rs 1.15 lakhs per day. The doctor was admitted at Tumbi Hospital, Chaderghat as she complained of breathing difficulties. Moreover, her daughter and her brother also tested positive for corona. The doctor urged that she wanted discharge as she couldn’t afford the bill.
The hospital authorities are not targeted for giving inflated bills but they are also slammed for bad maintenance.
There have been videos circulating on how the hospital maintenances are dreadful.
On one hand when the hospitals and government must join hands to save the people and encounter the virus; they are being crueller the to public both financially and emotionally.