Marol hospital fire: ESIC patients forced into early discharge
Govt body forcing indisposed to leave early against their will, while also making them run around for papers lost in the fire
The ESIC blaze may have been doused, but patients of the hospital referred to other medical care centres following the incident are still facing a trial by fire. Four days after the blaze, one of the patients has been asked to leave a hospital against his wish.
This comes a day after mid-day carried a front-page report about a patient injured in the fire being asked to pay up for his treatment, despite ESIC promising to take care of medical expenses. A total of 174 patients had been injured in the fire. Now, two of them are facing another kind of dilemma altogether. One of them is Vishnu Shitaram Shivgan,47, who suffers from polio. He was admitted to the Holy Spirit hospital for treatment. But now, ESIC, which is responsible for paying for his medical treatment, pressuring Vishnu's family to take an early discharge for him, against their wishes.
Can't leave just yet
Vishnu has polio in his right leg, and is completely dependent on his right hand for his day to day work. He was admitted to ESIC after he developed an infection in the same hand due to diabetes and had to undergo multiple surgeries for it. When the fire started on Monday, he couldn't move due to his condition and got stuck in the smoke for an hour. His son Mahendra, who went to rescue him, inhaled too much smoke in the process. He had to be admitted in the ICU of the Holy Spirit hospital for two days.
Mahadev Hate's family has been asked to get documents damaged in the fire
He has recovered now, but Vishnu hasn't. To add to their woes, ESIC staffers are asking the family to leave the hospital. Mahendra said, "My father has undergone three plastic surgeries on his right hand. He is completely dependent on his right hand for going about his work, and now, as he can't even move it. He is completely bedridden. We have been requesting the hospital to keep him for two more days until he recovers completely as there are chances of him developing infections since he is also diabetic. Due to the fire, he has also been complaining about breathlessness." While the Shivgans try to get a few more days in the hospital, another family is being put through rigmarole to retrieve documents lost in the fire.
Bring back the documents
The family is of patient Mahadev Hate, 52, who had been admitted to ESIC for treatment of dengue. After the fire, he was also moved to Holy Spirit, after he complained of breathlessness, which further deteriorated his health condition. After undergoing treatment for five days, he's fit enough to be discharged. But, he has been held in the hospital until his family gets the original admission papers from ESIC hospital, which have now been lost in the fire.
His son Siddharth said, "When we were rescued after the fire, we left with the fire brigade and didn't get the time to take the documents with us. My brother, who'd gone to meet my father, also left his bag at the hospital which had all of his documents and money. We have been asking around but no one knows where the bag is."
Responding to the cases, Rajesh Swami, director, ESIC said, "I'm not aware of this [patients being asked to leave early] but I will enquire into it with the official concerned at the hospital." Executive director of Holy Spirit Hospital Sneha Joseph said no pressure is being put on patients to leave the hospital, but if ESIC officials are asking them to leave, then the hospital has no role to play. "We haven't asked anyone to leave. So far, around 25 patients have been discharged only after their medical reports have come clean. If the patients are being asked to leave by the officials from ESIC, I can't comment on it," she said.
On being asked if ESIC has paid for the treatment of the discharged patients, she said, "So far, we haven't received any money from them. The bill varies according to the treatment. Although, the medical superintend of the ESIC hospital visited us on Thursday to check on the patients."
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