Woman beats covid-19, hospital bill pruning next

A 34-year-old covid patient, the wife of a painter in Pottery Town, recovered from covid on July 28. Instead of being an occasion of relief, the family feels the sky has fallen on their heads when they saw a bill of over Rs 7 lakh given to them by St Philomena’s Hospital.

The woman and her husband Andrews are daily wagers and illiterate. The couple had thought that all hospitals charge government hospital rates for covid treatment so they can afford the treatment. Now, they are running here and there and have approached human rights activists for help.

Andrews tested positive for covid before and then a month ago, his wife did. Andrews was asymptomatic and he quarantined at home and recovered, but his wife developed breathlessness on July 5 and was rushed to KC General Hospital where there were no beds. She was shifted to St Philomena’s hospital when a bed became available there. “The woman was asked to pay Rs 1 lakh as deposit and when she told them she did not have that money, the hospital staff brought it down to Rs 40,000. She managed to collect Rs 35,000 and deposited the money at the hospital,” said Vinodh Channakrishna, a human rights activist.

We are trying to help her through our staff who are trying to facilitate MLA funds, but the patient has just been negotiating with us

–Spokesperson, St Philomena’s Hospital

A couple of days into her treatment, she became critical. She had to be given an injection that cost Rs 40,000 and she was also asked to replace medicines worth Rs 2 lakh to the hospital pharmacy. She was discharged on July 28 and given a bill of Rs 7.07 lakh after deducting the Rs 35,000 deposit. The couple approached a human rights activist, who is now negotiating with the hospital requesting them to deflate the bills.


A spokesperson from St Philomena’s Hospital explained to BM that they were charging the government rates only. “She was shifted from KC General Hospital to our hospital on July 5 and for 22 days was in the ICU and ventilator. We have charged her the government rate for a private hospital, which is Rs 25,000 for a day. The patient also had comorbidities like hypertension and diabetes. She says her family is poor and cannot afford treatment. This hospital is a society and we had to get provincial approval to waive of a part of her bill down to Rs 4 lakh from Rs 7 lakh. We are trying our best to help her through our staff who are trying to facilitate MLA funds etc. but the patient has been negotiating with us over the past three days and until now has paid only Rs 1 lakh,” said the spokesperson.

Pricey tests

In another incident, a sting operation revealed that a private hospital (Sagar Hospitals) in Tilak Nagar has been overcharging patients for covid tests. It was revealed that the hospital charged Rs 350 extra for each RT-PCR test for more than 250 patients since July 24 until July 30.

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Sagar Biswas

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