Vital sins: Despite warnings, hospitals refuse patients
Rajashekara S, Kumaran P and Pragna L Krupa
Despite warnings from the CM, his cabinet ministers, the BBMP and even cancellation of licences, hospitals continue to turn away patients, even non-covid cases
It has become routine for hospitals to refuse to admit patients even with non-covid problems, despite warning by the Chief Minister, his cabinet and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike. government . Some hospitals have faced disciplinary action and their OPD sections have not been able to operate for a few days. Recently, Sudharani, a famous Kannada film actress, had to call the Police Commissioner to get her niece, suffering from kidney problems, admitted to a hospital.
How long before hospitals agree to stabilise a patient, if not admit him/her, before claiming that they don’t have vacant beds?
In yet another incident, Somanna, a 70-year-old man lost his life after no hospital was willing to give him emergency care without a covid test.
According to Jagadish Reddy, Somanna’s relative, the old man was rushed to Vydehi hospital after he complained of dizziness on Thursday evening. The Vydehi hospital management asked for an advance of Rs. 30,000 for the covid test before they could even examine him, said Reddy. So they rushed him to East Point hospital where they refused to treat him. They said they would administer the rapid antigen test but the results would come in two days. In the hope that someone would treat him, his family took him to a few more small hospitals but after six hours, they came home and he passed away.
The government has given us clear instructions to treat all the patients and not deny or delay the treatment due to covid-19. There is no compulsion on getting covid tests done before starting the treatment. Doctors must examine all the patients with precaution and protective gear, assuming every case is suspected covid.
— Dr. BR Venkateshaiah, Medical Superintendent of KC General hospital
Dr. BR Venkateshaiah, Medical Superintendent of KC General hospital said, “The government has given us clear instructions to treat all the patients and not deny or delay the treatment due to covid-19. There is no compulsion on getting covid tests done before starting the treatment. Doctors must examine all the patients with precaution and protective gear, assuming every case is suspected covid.”
Shivakumar, Medical Superintendent of East Point hospital said, “Any non covid patient who comes to the casualty is first examined and then treatment is given.
Unless it is a suspected covid case, we do not ask them to get the tests first.” He said that he would check with the doctors who were in charge on Thursday and find out what happened.
DA Kalpaja, Director of VIMS & RC (Vydehi Institute of Medical Science and Research Centre) said, “I will check with the medical superintendent and the doctor who was present and get back to you.”
In another case, an auto driver, Syed, was asked to pay an advance of Rs 2 lakh by a hospital in Yelahanka, after his father was admitted to the hospital.
There’s a notification that all patients referred by the BBMP will be given free treatment. Says Syed, “My father was taken to a hospital in a BBMP ambulance. Still they’re asking me for money.”
New mother dies
In another heart wrenching incident, a 26-year-old woman, a mother of a six-day-old infant, died after she was refused admission at many hospitals, when she developed breathing problems.
When she was denied admission by several hospitals, her family reached out to Jayanagar MLA Sowmya Reddy, who made an appeal on her Twitter handle and later managed to get the woman admitted to a hospital. But the woman died within hours.
Hospitals don’t care
Hours after the death of the woman, Medical Education Minister tweeted that stringent action would be taken against private hospitals who do not follow government protocol. Deputy Chief Minister CN Ashwath Narayan sounded helpless at the non-cooperation from private hospitals. “The hospital should have taken the patient at least to the labour room and treated her.”
Sowmya Reddy said it had become routine for her to be woken up at night to get a bed for a critically ill patient. Reddy and fellow Congress MLA Rizwan Arshad said that the government had lost its grip on the situation. Meanwhile, BBMP Commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad said that the civic body has issued notice to cancel licenses of 19 private hospitals in Bengaluru for not admitting patients. He said criminal cases have been filed against four hospitals under the Disaster Management Act.