Kolkata hospital refuses to release patient over money, alleges kin

Kolkata: A man who was critically injured in a road accident in West Bengal died on Thursday night due to 'inadequate treatment' by a private hospital, which had also refused to allow the kin to shift him to a state-run hospital unless they paid up the full amount, the family alleged on Friday.

The incident comes two days after state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee pulled up city-based private hospitals for "unethical money making".

Trinamool Congress leader Madan Mitra ordered the hospital to 'immediately' arrange a refund of the billed amount.

Sanjoy Roy, 30, resident of Dankuni, was critically injured in a road accident on February 16. He was admitted to the Apollo Gleneagles hospital here where he was put on ventilation on the 'pretext' of a CT scan, his kin claimed.

"He was a bit aggressive because of erratic sodium level due to liver injury. He was tied up. They made me sign a bond for the CT scan. We were then told that my husband was put on ventilation to stabilise the heart. But then he was never removed from ventilation," Roy's wife said.

The family claimed that in six days of hospitalisation at Apollo Gleneagles, the patient was billed an amount of Rs 6,41,000. Roy's family said they were able to pay up around Rs 4.33 lakh initially.

Since the bill had gone up, the family decided to shift Roy to state-run Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education & Research (S.S.K.M. Hospital) hospital. They approached Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee to expedite the process and were able to secure a bed.

However, the private hospital authorities refused to release the patient, as Roy's kin had failed to pay the total billed amount.

"We informed them about the shift. We told them in the meantime we are arranging for the money. But they refused to let go of the patient saying we had to pay up the rest of the bill. They delayed release is due to the money issue.

"We told them about about Chief Minister pulling up hospitals but they persisted with their demand. They clearly told us 'We receive four to five such cases daily and this is nothing to us'. We told the management also but they reiterated their demand for paying up the total billed amount," a family member said.

It was only after the family deposited cheques and fixed deposit certificates did the hospital release Roy. He was moved to SSKM on Thursday evening where he subsequently died.

Roy's childhood friend accused the hospital authorities of "inadequate treatment and providing insufficient information".

"They didn't inform us properly about what was wrong with him. They made his wife sign a bond to do a CT scan and left him for four hours. It was only when we pushed and questioned them as to why Ray's CT scan was still not carried out, they proceeded with it. They put him on ventilation saying the CT scan report is fine, it shows water in the lungs. Every day we heard different things regarding his health condition. I lost my childhood friend due to inadequate treatment, medical negligence and absence of humanity," Roy's friend alleged.

Mitra who reached SSKM on Saturday noon spoke to the Apollo management over the phone from the spot.

"It is better to shut down the hospital rather than developing it into a crematorium. Very unfortunate. Tell Rupali (Basu), the CEO of the hospital. We will be very happy to shut it down. Our Keoratala cremation ground is better than your hospital. Are you the rulers of Bengal," Mitra thundered.

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