Pune: Relatives of a patient who died while undergoing treatment at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of KEM hospital, have alleged that the hospital is not handing over the body over non-payment of treatment charges. The family has said that they are not in a position to pay the entire bill as they are out of employment since the last three months. The hospital management, however, has refuted the charges and claimed that the relatives were not reachable to take possession of the body.
Sunita Dinkar More (69), residing at Kondhwa Khurd had tested positive for COVID-19 on July 4, and was undergoing treatment at KEM hospital. She was put on oxygen support initially. A family member claimed that the hospital had asked them to bring an injection costing Rs 40 thousand, which they managed to do so and also paid another Rs 40 thousand after borrowing the entire amount. The patient was in ICU for 15 days and other family members were quarantined, so we don't know what treatment was done by the doctors at the hospital. We were only told that the patient is serious and is put on ventilator support. We were contacted by the Kondhwa police on Saturday about the death of a patient. When we enquired with the hospital, we were given an estimate of Rs 3.5 lakh, but on Sunday morning the bill was reduced and made Rs 2.25 lakh. We are not in a position to pay a single rupee as we have lost employment in the last three months, so we requested the hospital to reduce the bill.
KEM Hospital in a press statement issued on Sunday afternoon refuted all claims made by the patient's family. The statement says, "Relatives of the deceased patient were not reachable and hence we informed the Kondhwa police station about it. One of the relatives came at night around 10 pm and he was told that someone from the close family should come to fill form 2 which requires detailed information. Later, the son of the deceased patient came and filled the form. He was handed the bill and he told us that they would come the next day morning. In the meantime, someone on behalf of the patient's family asked if something can be done regarding the bill. Considering that the family had lost a loved one we reduced the bill by 50%. The family had not approached the management earlier regarding any bill issue. Also, we have charged the patient treatment as per section 25 norms of the Pune Municipal Corporation."
"There is no question of the body not being handed over. It was the relatives that were not reachable to take possession of the body. The allegations about the concerned person contracting the infection at the hospital is false. We have stringent measures in place to keep infections at bay. All the patients coming to the hospital are put through a thorough screening which includes an X-ray and if there is a high index of suspicion a swab is taken at that point," the hospital has clarified.
Edited by: Pranav Jalan