The dead body of a 59-year-old woman who was ‘COVID Positive’ died at a private hospital was held captive in Mira Road for more than eight hours over non-payment of inflated bills, alleges family members of the deceased. On July 04, mibhatimes.com has reported how Wockhardt Hospital had captive the dead body over the inflated bills.
Rajina Kasughar (59), a resident of Bhutodi Bandar in Uttan was admitted at Family Care Hospital on June 26. She was suffering from Pneumonia. Her swab was collected on the same day. Hospital authorities informed the family members that the patient is COVID-19 positive and he has to be shifted in an isolated ward.
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“My mother was having Pneumonia symptoms. On Family doctor’s recommendation, we admitted her at Pandit Bhimsen Joshi Hospital on June 22. However, as there was ‘who cares’ attitude of the nurses, we shifted her at Family Care Hospital on June 26. They conducted COVID test and informed us that she is positive. They shifted her to the isolation ward,” said Sibal Kasughar, daughter of the deceased.
At the time of admission, the hospital asked advanced, and the family paid the bill. “We mortgage jewellery, borrowed Rs 5000 to 10,000 from relatives and friends to pay hospital bills. About two lakhs, we paid pharmacy bills and Rs 2,60,000 hospital’s bill till Saturday,” said Sibal.
What they charged
“They prescribed costly vials like Remdesivir and Tocilizumab. For PPE kits, hospitals charged Rs 3500 per piece and cumulative Rs. 52,500 for it. While its pharma store charges Rs 1500 for the same. However, we can get the same at Rs 650 outside,” said Satyam Kasughar, deceased son.
According to the bills, Doctor’s consulting fees were charged Rs 7500 in ICU and Rs 4000 in Isolation Ward. RMO’s Charges were Rs 5000 in ICU and Rs 4000 in Isolation while nursing charges were Rs 4000 and Rs 2000 per day respectively. A total bill of whopping Rs 4, 86, 000 given to the relatives.
On Saturday, the hospital informed that their mother’s condition is critical and they are shifting her to ICU. Since then, they were not shown or allowed to meet them with their mother. “Whenever Hospital authorities had demanded money, we paid them considering our mother should be saved. Finally, hospital has drained us,” said Kasughars.
After hospital shifted her in ICU, asked the family members to pay Rs 1.30 lakhs on Saturday evening else they will stop the treatment. “After her death, when we came here at 8 am to take her dead body hospital has demanded Rs 2.26 lakhs. From where we get this much money,” said Sibal.
“When we approached police and MBMC official, the hospital started bargaining with us,” said Malcolm Kasughar, Sibal and Satyam’s uncle.
Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik’s intervene
After the intervention of Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik, the hospital released the dead body at 4 pm. After that, relatives took the body for the burial at Uttan Cemetery.
Sarnaik takes over the management of the hospital. He asked Shalini Iyer over the phone, why so much inflated bills. People don’t have money due to lockdown. Are you overcharging to pay hospital building rent to the owner, isn’t that? he questioned.
A few days ago, an audio clip of former BJP MLA Narendra Mehta went viral, where he abused the caller, who was seeking his help for inflated hospital bills. Significantly, the caller has taken this as well as Wockhardt Hospital’s names.
Sarnaik alleged that the MBMC management intentionally delaying the 1000-bed hospital approved by CM Uddhav Thackeray. “On May 25, I met the CM and given the letter to him. On May 31, he approved the 1000-bed ‘Covid-19 Care Center’ in Mira Bhayandar. He confirmed over the phone about the approval. However, it’s more than 40 days, no moves had been taken yet,” said Sarnaik.
“Intentionally, they are delaying the matter to help this type of hospitals. In the last 40 days, they have yet to decide where to set up the open space hospital. Sometimes they say Satsang Ashram Ground, sometimes Deepak Khambit says Balasaheb Thackeray Ground. If they don’t confirm till Tuesday, then we will protest outside the MBMC headquarters in ‘Shiv Sena Istyle’,” warned Sarnaik.
MBMC constitutes committee
Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation has constituted a 5-member committee which will review private hospitals bills before handing over to COVID patients’ relatives. However, it seems that the committee is on the paper only. “After getting lots of complaints about the irrational bills, we have formed a committee of MBMC officials. They will review the bills before handing over to patients’ relative or before the discharge,” this was said by Mahesh Varudkar, Additional Commissioner, MBMC when the reporter has contacted after the Wockhardt Hospital’s incident.
Note: Mibhatimes.com possesses the copy of the final bills issued by the Hospital.