Six days after MiD DAY had published a report ('Hospital keeps dead body as kin fail to pay for surgery', on Dec 19), the authorities of the Mulund-based Platinum Hospital, finally released the body of a patient, which they had held back claiming non-payment of fees worth Rs 4 lakh.
Lalchand Prasad performed last rites on his elder brother Dularchand's body on Saturday at Bhiwandi.
Dularchand, a labourer at a Bhiwandi-based factory had breathed his last at the hospital on December 13. He was admitted to the hospital after he suffered a heart attack.
According to Dr Sanjit Paul, CEO, Platinum hospital, "The patient had suffered a heart attack so we operated on him and installed a pacemaker. However, he died 24 hours after the surgery."
According to Lalchand, initially, the hospital had refused to hand over the body, stating that the Prasads were yet to clear the Rs 4 lakh bill. Lalchand had stated that it was impossible for him to clear the bill with his measly earnings of just Rs 4,000 a month. He had even accused the hospital authorities of threatening him with police action. Fearing arrest, he had fled to his hometown in Bihar.
Besides garnering response from the readers who were ready to offer monetary help to the Prasad family, the article, after it was published, attracted political attention towards the family's plight. Sudhir Singh, general secretary, NCP Mumbai, and Dr Ved Tiwari, MNS leader, approa-ched the hospital authorities, requesting them to hand over Dularchand's body to his family.
"I am thankful to MiD DAY, Sudhir Singh, Ved Tiwari and Dr Sanjit Paul. My brother is survived by his wife, four daughters and an 11-month-old son. Now, their responsi- bility has fallen on my shoulders," said Lalchand
The other side
Dr Sanjit Paul said, "Lalchand unnecessary created an issue. I was ready to hand over the body. We perform 10 heart surgeries a day and never pressurise a patient or his relatives for money. In fact, if a patient's kin asks for charity before admitting him/her, we arrange for it. In Dularchand's case, his brother had initially agreed to pay, but refused to after the patient died. Media and patients must understand problems faced by private hospitals."