Patients left in the cold as court shuts Mumbai hospital

Almost 30 patients on dialysis forced to find alternative as Malad hospital ceases operations

Thirty-eight patients suffering from kidney failure and on dialysis at Surana Hospital, Malad, face a challenge as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has sent a notice to the hospital to shut down its multi-specialty unit starting Monday.

Underprivileged kids under treatment at Surana Hospital, Malad, will now have to be shifted
Underprivileged kids under treatment at Surana Hospital, Malad, will now have to be shifted

The hospital that is run under the Public Private Partnership module between the BMC and Surana Trust, was allegedly found to be violating the terms and conditions of the agreement, and asked to hand over the hospital plot back to the BMC three months ago.

However, as the tussle between the two organisations continues, it has put the future of patients in the dark, especially those of 24 underprivileged children. These young patients have travelled here from different parts of the state for heart-related surgeries under the Central Health Scheme.

Till date, 198 children have been treated for various heart ailments at hospitals under the state’s charitable schemes. BMC authorities discovered that 11 hospitals out of 13 that are run under the PPP module were violating norms, and therefore handed them show cause notices in the month of June.

However, as time lapsed and neither of the two parties took concrete steps, the hospitals continued to function. The Surana Hospital, which was given to run as a maternity home and dispensary, was found to be undertaking cardiac surgeries, offering dialysis treatment and other facilities, allegedly without permission.

On Friday, the hospital was issued a notice by BMC authorities to shut down their services immediately and function as a maternity home alone. The hospital asked for a two-day extension on humanitarian grounds, while patients and their relatives were alerted that the hospital would shut down on Monday.

While the hospital shifted its 20 ICU patients to other hospitals on Friday, the update came as a shock for families of 38 kidney failure patients, who have been receiving dialysis on the hospital’s eight machines.

Eight patients, along with an attending doctor from the hospital, are said to have visited the BMC headquarters, requesting them to allow the service to continue or make alternate arrangements since most patients need to visit the hospital three times a week and cannot afford to miss a sitting.

Patients visited the assistant municipal commissioner Sanjay Deshmukh last Friday with a signed letter, but had to return without meeting him. Gurushan Singh Gandhi, a 60-year-old diabetic patient, who is also suffering from obesity and has been on dialysis for a year, said it’s an inconsiderate step on the BMC’s part.

“Since I am being treated under the Rajiv Gandhi Aarogya Yojna, I’ve been receiving free treatment. I’ll have to start from scratch with documentation and treatment at another hospitals,” he said. Prince Surana, chairman of the hospital, said, “We have shifted ICU patients first as they are the priority and as we have a two-day extension. We will try and schedule cardiac heart treatments for children at our Chembur unit.”

Dr Padmaja Keskar, executive health officer, BMC, expressed her inability to comment on the issue or extend help to the patients. “The decision has been taken by the court based on irregularities. It’s a court order, not the BMC’s decision.”

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