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KEM turns away 9-month old 48 hrs before surgery

Infant's parents had deposited R1.25 lakh and brought her for all pre-operative assessments, but were asked to leave at the eleventh hour, as renovations are in progress

Nine-month-old Shreya Jaiswal's parents have been on tenterhooks since their daughter was diagnosed with complete heart blockage only a month after her birth.

When doctors at the civic-run KEM hospital set September 24 as the date for her surgery, the anxious Jaiswals saw a faint ray of hope, and ran from pillar to post to arrange for the demanded deposit of Rs 1.25 lakh for the operation.


Left in the lurch: Innocent Shreya with her mother. PIC/Faisal G Tandel

Upon admitting her for the procedure on September 22, however, they were shocked when doctors informed them that the surgery had been cancelled, citing inconvenience caused by renovations at the hospital.

The infant, who requires a permanent pacemaker, has now been admitted to Nair hospital for treatment. Her father Kamlesh Jaiswal is a daily wage earner for the family of five. "The doctors told us that the treatment would cost as much as Rs 6-7 lakh at a private hospital, but that the  rates are subsidised at government    hospitals, among which KEM is equipped with the required machines," he said.

At KEM, doctors agreed to operate on her, and took a deposit of Rs 1.25 lakh at the very outset. Following instructions, the couple deposited Rs 60,000 with the Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery on February 28 this year. An additional Rs 65,000 was deposited with the Department of Cardiology on March 11.

Jaiswal said, "I applied to Jeevandayee, a Central Government trust for the funds, and was granted Rs 1.15 lakh within two days. I added Rs 10,000 from my own savings. I brought my daughter to KEM hospital four times in the period of six months. However, when she was admitted on September 22 for the procedure, doctors turned us away, saying that renovations were in progress at the hospital, as result of which they were not equipped to perform high-risk operations. They told me to shift her to either Nair or Sion hospital."

Dr Ravi Nanavare, dean of Nair hospital, said, "Nair hospital also has its own waiting list for patients awaiting operations. When a patient is transferred from another hospital, we try and operate on them as soon as possible. We will try and treat Shreya within a week."

The other side
Dr Sanjay Oak, dean of KEM hospital, said, "The Cardiology Department is working with a single operation theatre. However, we have given them the option of seeking treatment at Nair or KEM hospital. If they proceed to the Nair hospital, the deposit that they paid will be transferred there."

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