Mumbai: Coronavirus-infected BMC man fails to get bed at civic hospitals, admitted in private at high cost

Updated: May 21, 2020, 12:13 IST | Anurag Kamble | Mumbai

Family of the BMC employee who tested positive is now under enormous monetary pressure and forced to take a loan to pay hospital bills

BMC has converted NESCO exhibition centre into quarantine centre. File pic/Satej Shinde
BMC has converted NESCO exhibition centre into quarantine centre. File pic/Satej Shinde

The family of a 50-year-old civic employee, who tested positive for COVID-19, had to run from pillar to post to get a bed at a BMC hospital. Despite having served as a cook in a corporation hospital for 30 years, the Mulund-based family had to get him hospitalised in a private hospital in Navi Mumbai at high cost.

"My dad has given 30 years to the BMC, feeding patients in the hospital. But we had to shift him to a private hospital in Navi Mumbai. Is this how frontline warriors are treated?" his son asked.

On May 7, he had a fever so was taken to a private hospital, where they said he had typhoid. But, later he was shifted to another private hospital as he started feeling breathless and on May 18, a COVID-19 test returned positive.

"We were told to shift him to a COVID-19 hospital. The private hospital had already charged us Rs. 44,000 so we were looking for a BMC Hospital," his son said.

His daughter got a bed at a BMC hospital. But by the time they arranged an ambulance, the bed was given to another COVID-19 patient who was critical. "So we tried other BMC hospitals, but we received negative answers from everywhere," she said.

One of their relatives advised taking their father to a private hospital in Navi Mumbai. By the time they arranged an oxygen ambulance, it was already 2 am, and they were charged Rs 5,000.

"The hospital told us to pay Rs 50,000 as deposit, but when we couldn't, they took Rs 5,000 and told to arrange for the remaining amount," he added.

"Why can't the BMC cater to their staff at their own hospital?" they ask. In the last three days, they have spent more than Rs 70,000 and are being forced to take a loan to pay bills.

"Despite being a BMC employee if we find it tough to find a bed for our father, what must be the scenario for common people? Also, the ambulance service is inadequate and the BMC, the government should look into it," his daughter said.

Rs 70,000
Amount his family has spent in last three days

May 18
Day the BMC employee test positive

Staff tests positive, but what next?

In another case, a 32-year-old employed as a sweeper with the civic body tested positive at BYL Nair Hospital a couple of days ago. On Wednesday morning, he got a call from BMC telling him to be ready as health officials would pick him up. But even nine hours later, the patient was still waiting for officials to arrive. When his family approached the local ward office to enquire about the delay, they denied having any information. Till the time of going to press, the patient was still waiting for BMC officials to arrive.

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