Marol hospital fire: Patients billed by private hospital despite ESIC promising it to be free
For one patient who survived the Marol hospital fire, there was more agony in store as, contrary to official promise, private hospital asks him to pay up
When Rajesh Maurya went in for a knee surgery at ESIC hospital, his cousin Pramod Maurya was right by his side. But while Monday's fire left Pramod in critical condition, Rajesh, who was shifted to a private hospital after his escape, has been slapped with a bill or R16,000, and the doctors refuse to discharge him until the ESIC authorities clear the bill.
When Rajesh Maurya was wheeled out of the operation theatre, neither he nor his cousin Pramod could have imagined that just two hours later, they would be dangling from the fourth floor, hanging on to a rope for dear life. When the building was engulfed in flames, the brothers jumped from the fourth floor window. Still raw from his knee surgery, Rajesh miraculously managed to climb a rope down to safety.
Frantically looking to escape, Pramod didn't wait for his turn. Instead, he fashioned another rope out of bedsheets tied together. Tragically, he only got as far as the third floor before the bedsheets unravelled, and he plummeted to the ground. The fall left Pramod paraplegic, and he is currently in a critical condition, on ventilator support at Cooper hospital. His wife and two children are miles away in Allahabad, and are worried about the fate of their breadwinner.
In such a desperate time for the family, Rajesh is unable to be by his cousin's side, and once again, ESIC is to blame. The brothers' uncle, Rakesh Maurya, told mid-day, "On Monday, after the fire, we rushed Rajesh to Mukund hospital, a private hospital nearby, as a precautionary measure. Pramod was rushed to Cooper by the rescue workers."
"That night, some doctors from ESIC hospital visited us in Mukund hospital, as they were checking other hospitals in the area to see if their patients had been admitted there after the fire. The doctors met Rajesh and, in front of the doctors from Mukund hospital, assured us that we would not have to make any payment, as ESIC would settle the medical bill. But in the morning, when it was time to discharge Rajesh, the doctors from Mukund handed over a bill for R16,000," added the uncle.
When mid-day called Mukund hospital, a senior nurse answered and instructed us to contact Dr Ram Prabhu. However, despite repeated calls, he remained unavailable. Meanwhile, ESIC doctors have allegedly not responded to Rakesh's calls. "We will not settle the bill, as ESIC doctors had promised to do it. But when Mukund hospital tried to contact the doctor from ESIC hospital, he did not respond. Both Rajesh and Pramod are the sole breadwinners of their families, and their wives and children depend on them. I want the government to give compensation to Pramod, as he cannot walk anymore."
A senior doctor from ESIC, who had visited Mukund hospital, said, "I was told to visit Mukund hospital as one of our patients was rushed there post the fire. I just passed on the message given by our ESIC management, which was that ESIC would settle the bill. I don't know what the Mukund hospital doctors have told the patient regarding this, but I have told the patients family to go and meet the administration at ESIC to resolve this."
On Tuesday, ESIC's assistant director Sarika Kakkad had informed mid-day that they had deputed a team of four doctors and nurses check the list of patients shifted to nearby hospitals. Dr Rajesh Swami, director, ESIC, said, "We will definitely take care of the patient's hospital expenses and I will try and resolve the issue by Thursday."
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