Doctor who died of virus slapped with Rs 13.77 lakh bill; family protests

New Delhi: Family members of a doctor who ran a private clinic in Sector 11, on Monday alleged that Noida's Fortis Hospital had kept the doctor's dead body captive for a day after he died following a positive test for COVID-19, as they were unable to pay a bill of Rs 13.77 lakh charged for the three weeks that he was treated at the private healthcare facility.

The doctor fell sick on June 7, after which he was admitted to Fortis Hospital in Sector 62. His swab samples were also taken for sampling and on June 8 his reports came out to be positive for the novel Coronavirus. The hospital started his treatment and on June 13, his condition started deteriorating and he was put on a ventilator.

For nearly 15 days, he remained on life support as no improvement was observed in his condition. However, he succumbed during treatment on Sunday. However, hospital management has said that they have a record of each medicine and treatment given to the patient. A senior official said that the patient was twice given injections worth Rs 40,000 each and other treatment as well. The hospital had never kept the body captive or forced the family in any way, insisted the official.

The incident sparked protests by the family members and leaders of the minority cell wing of the Samajwadi Party as they raised slogans against the hospital management for not handing over the body and demanding unreasonably high charges. Later, police were called to the spot and the body was handed over to the family on Monday afternoon after getting a written assurance from the family that they would pay the bill.

The deceased's son said that as per the rates fixed by ICMR, for treatment of COVID patients around Rs 10,000 per day should be charged by private hospitals designated for COVID-19 treatment. "The hospital is not following ICMR guidelines. Even if we assume that Rs 10,000 more has been charged on the name of the ventilator and PPE kit, it becomes Rs 20,000 per day. The treatment continued for 20 days so the expected amount is nearly Rs 4 lakh but the hospital is asking us to pay Rs 13.77 lakhs which seems to be nowhere justified," said the son.

Significantly, Millennium Post had reported that the district administration in Noida had already approved a price regulation chart for private COVID-19 treatment but had chosen not to make it public or enforce it in private hospitals here. These charges were fixed between Rs 8,000 to Rs 11,000 per day with extra charges for ICU beds varying between Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 and ventilators at Rs 5,000.

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