In a new twist to the case of Medanta hospital in Gurugram overcharging a patient, the family of the 7-year old child Sourya Pratap, who died of dengue, withdrew the complaint and agreed not to pursue the case further after the hospital agreed refund the entire amount of Rs 15.68 lakh charged for the patient’s treatment.
The settlement was facilitated by the Union health minister JP Nadda.
In a letter written to Naresh Trehan, the Chairman and Managing Director of Medanta, Nadda’s additional private secretary Om Prakaash Sharma on March 1 requested Medanta to refund the amount, on the grounds that the family is poor and has lost a child.
Moneycontrol verified a copy of the letter written in Hindi.
The letter also mentions that the request came from Manoj Rajoria, BJP Lok Sabha MP representing Karauli-Dholpur, Rajasthan to help Sourya’s father Gopendra Singh Parmar.
Parmar hails from the constituency represented by Rajoria.
Parmar said Rajoria then took up the matter with Nadda, who urged Trehan to repay the amount charged by the hospital.
But Medanta relented only after the Parmars agreed to drop the complaint.
“I took the decision in the best interests of our family under the circumstances we are in and it takes years, if not a lifetime to earn that much money,” Parmar said in Hindi.
Parmar is an LIC agent and is the primary breadwinner for a joint family of 8 people that includes his parents, wife, child and his brother’s family as well.
His son Sourya was admitted to Medanta on October 30 after being diagnosed with dengue. After undergoing treatment at the hospital for 22 days, the family decided to shift him to RML Hospital because there had been no improvement in his condition and the bill was running quite high. Sourya succumbed to disease two days after being admitted to RML Hospital.
Medanta denied any medical negligence on its part and said it had provided the best possible care.
The Haryana government in February ordered a probe against Medanta’s hospital in Gurugram.
DNA reported that the probe panel found the hospital guilty of overcharging the family for blood and certain drugs.
A six-member inquiry committee, which included the deputy civil surgeon and two paediatricians of the Gurugram civil hospital, was constituted by the civil surgeon’s office on February 6.
The newspaper’s report said the inquiry committee found that while the state government has fixed the price of random donor platelets (RDPs) at Rs 400 per unit, Medanta charged Rs 1,950 per unit, nearly five times the stipulated price.
Medanta was also found selling drugs covered under the Drug Price Control Order at an inflated rate.
The Medanta case follows a similar pattern of hospitals trying to enter into settlements with families of patients in high profile cases.
Jayant Singh, the father of 7-year old girl Adya Singh who died of dengue and was billed Rs 16 lakh by Fortis Hospital in Gurugram, also alleged that the hospital had offered him a refund of the entire expenses and pay him an additional sum of Rs 25 lakh to settle the case.
Singh said he rejected the offer and has moved Supreme Court against the hospital.
“It is an unqualified good thing that late Sourya’s family was refunded the bill amount,” said Malini Aisola, co-convenor, All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN), the network of healthcare-focused NGOs.
“However, we need an enduring solution to the problem of exploitation by private hospitals so other patients don’t have to depend on anybody’s largesse. Therefore we call upon the government of India to urgently impose ceiling rates on healthcare charges which is in any case mandated under the rules of Clinical Establishment Act and Rules,” Aisola added.moneycontrol