Bengaluru: Girl, 1, battles Covid for 74 days; poor parents pay Rs 6 lakh | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BENGALURU: One-year-old Vishalini overcame acute Covid-19 pneumonia after a 74-day battle and was discharged last month. Her family, which has limited means, spent nearly Rs 6 lakh on medicines during her stay in Rainbow Children’s Hospital, a private facility in Marathahalli, and currently doesn’t have the money to pay for her next chest X-ray.
This has prompted questions as the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) had referred Vishalini to this hospital and the state government is supposed to cover the full treatment cost of all such cases. A senior civic official said that the hospital erred by not raising the full treatment bill with the government. A doctor at the hospital provided a different account, saying authorities released only a part of the funds, forcing it to launch a crowdfunding effort.
Vishalini, from Laggere, had stomach swelling and fever in the last week of October. She was first admitted to government-run Vani Vilas Hospital on October 26. Though she tested negative for Covid-19 initially, she developed breathing problems. Four days later, she tested positive and doctors suggested that she should be shifted to the private hospital.
The toddler had 95% infection in the lungs and also developed E.coli bacterial infection. She was on a ventilator for 44 days. Experts say Vishalini is a rare case as severe Covid pneumonia is not seen among young children. “The doctors were thorough, so our baby survived. Though the government referred our child to the private hospital, we were asked to pay Rs 6 lakh for her medicines. We sold our farm and house and took a loan. Now, we don’t even have money for her next chest Xray,” said Vishalini’s mother, Anita Shaktivelu.
For some reason, three discharge dates are mentioned in Vishalini’s files. BBMP’s Centralised Hospital Bed Management System has listed the discharge date as November
11. The same day, her name was also shown under the ‘bed changed’ category. The Survarna Arogya Suraksha portal shows December 29 as the discharge date. Doctors who treated her told STOI that she was actually discharged on January 8. “Only the hospital is authorised to click on the discharge link; we can’t do it,” said a health official at the RR Nagar Covid-19 war room.
On the payment issue, the official said: “The hospital made a mistake by not informing BBMP about the enhancement of treatment and making the parents pay for medicines. The parents should have alerted us.”
Another civic official said the government had assigned an ‘Aapta Mitra’ to every hospital for effective communication with the patient’s family and BBMP. N Manjunatha Prasad, the BBMP commissioner, said that no Covid-19 patient referred by the BBMP could be asked to pay for medicines. “I am not aware of the girl’s case. Financial settlement is done through the Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust. We will forward this case to it,” he added.
Dr Divya Shetty, medical director of Rainbow Children’s Hospital, said that the government paid Rs 5 lakh as against the total bill of Rs 9 lakh, and the hospital raised the remainder through crowdfunding. A doctor claimed that BBMP didn’t provide adequate support despite multiple requests. The hospital did not respond to queries on why the family was asked to pay for the medicines.
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Sagar Biswas

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