Court extends Nigerian patient's visa for a week

Efe Uvaise's struggle to prevent the deportation of his mother -- whose treatment for spinal spondylosis was allegedly botched up by Hiranandani Hospital -- achieved success yesterday, when the Court ordered an extension

The Bombay High Court on Monday extended the visa of a Nigerian national and his mother, whose surgeries for spinal spondylosis were allegedly botched up by Hiranandani Hospital in Vashi last year. Since May last year, geophysicist Efe Uvaise (29) and his mother Uvaise Patience (50) have been struggling to prevent their deportation by the Foreign Registration Regional Office (FRRO), even as Patience's health suffered one blow after another.

The Bombay HC -- a bench comprising Justice V M Kanade and R G Ketkar -- on Monday directed the FRRO to extend the visas of both Efe and Patience by a week. Justice Kanade observed, "No professionals, whether doctors or lawyers, agree with each other's opinions. Extend their visas for a week, allow the patient, whose health is crucial, to be admitted to another hospital."

Efe has paid Rs 5.5 lakh till date for his mother's treatment. The HC has ordered that 2 per cent of the outstanding Rs 11 lakh due to the hospital be deposited with the court.

The family's woes began early last year, when a diagnostic centre in Nigeria advised Patience to undergo surgery at Fortis Hiranandani Hospital in Vashi. She was then granted a three-month medical visa for her 15-day treatment for cervical spondylosis, a condition in which the cervix compresses the spinal cord. She arrived at Mumbai International Airport on April 28, and went under the knife for the first time on May 1.

Soon after, she was shocked to receive a letter informing her that an implant had been inserted in her body. According to the petition lodged by Efe, there had been no mention of any implant in any of the paperwork produced by the hospital. The hospital also asked Efe for a consent letter, claiming that it had to change the implant, as the size of the first one had been miscalculated.

On May 3, after the second surgery, Patience was moved to the ICU. Complications arose six days later, causing her spinal cord to swell and the spinal fluid to be drained --  she was asked to stay for another six weeks at the hospital for treatment.

Efe then sought a second opinion from Dr Keki Turel at Bombay Hospital. He assessed Patience, concluding that her surgery was flawed. A thir  surgery was conducted on July 2, this too failed.

On January 25, 2012, the hospital security and the Vashi police allegedly threw Efe out of the hospital premises. Cops allegedly took him in their custody, and he was only released at 1 am the following morning. The next day, Efe was handed discharge papers, which he refused to accept.

On January 27, Efe received a notice of exit, requiring him to leave the country by February 7. It was then that he turned to the court for help.

The Other Side
In his submissions before the court, advocate Mohite, appearing on behalf of Hiranandani hospital, said, "The hospital has cooperated with the patient and helped with the visas, first for three months, then for another three more months, and then for one more month. Details of the implant were specifically  mentioned in the papers we sent to Nigeria. If they do not plan on paying the dues, they should say so clearly." The spokesperson for Fortis Hiranandani refused to comment on the matter yesterday.

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