The father of a seven-year-old, who died of dengue in September, has demanded a probe into the treatment and billing done by a corporate hospital in Gurgaon, which, besides prescribing expensive medicines, billed them for 660 syringes and 2,700 gloves during her 15-day hospital stay, they said. The 20-page itemised bill from the hospital added up to Rs 18 lakh.
The case came into light when Union health minister JP Nadda responded to a family friend’s tweet expressing outrage about the billing. “We will take all the necessary actions,” the minister said on Twitter.
The girl, Adya Singh, was referred to Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon, after she was diagnosed with dengue and her condition deteriorated August 31. She was put on ventilator the next day.
“She was on ventilator and dialysis for 15 days. The doctors had initially said that she should come off life-support in 24 hours. When that did not happen, they said they wanted to wait and see. After three or four days, we were told that there might be some brain damage. But no CT/MRI was done and the treatment continued,” said Adya’s father Jayant Singh, an IT professional from Gurgaon.
“Seven-year-old baby Adya was brought in to Fortis Memorial Research Institute (Gurgaon), from another private hospital on the morning of 31st August, 2017. She was admitted with Severe Dengue which progressed to Dengue Shock Syndrome and was managed on IV fluids and supportive treatment as there was a progressive fall in platelet count and hemoconcentration (decrease in blood plasma volume). As her condition deteriorated, she had to be put on ventilatory support within 48 hours. The family was kept informed of the critical condition of the child and the poor prognosis in these situations,” a hospital statement said.
All standard medical protocols were followed in treating the patient and clinical guidelines were adhered to, the hospital said. “When she passed away, we thought at least the doctors tried everything,” Jayant said. It was only after the doctors proposed a full-body plasma transplant (a procedure to remove, treat and return blood plasma), despite the brain damage, that the family began to question in the hospital practices.
We were asked to arrange for a private ambulance as the hospital authorities told us they not liable to provide one if patients leave against medical advice, Singh said.
The family said they decided to have Adya discharged from the hospital, and she died at the hospital premise before she could be transferred to another hospital in a private ambulance. Singh added that the family had to request another hospital to take her in just to declare her dead.
“We had a medical insurance and I paid around Rs 10 lakh above it too, without even questioning them. But, after we signed the papers stating that we were leaving against medical advice, we were asked to go back and pay for the hospital gown Adya was wearing because she couldn’t fit into her clothes,” said Singh.
When they finally looked at the bill they realised that in the period of 15 days some 660 syringes and 2,700 gloves were used. “We are not from the medical background and even then some of the things appeared outrageous,” he said.
The billing details shared on Twitter show that they were charged Rs 200 for strips to check blood sugar levels. Similar strips are sold on the Fortis website for Rs 13 per piece, the family claimed.
“Patient was treated in the Paediatric ICU (PICU) for 15 days and was critical right from the time of admission requiring Intensive monitoring. Treatment during these 15 days included mechanical ventilation, high frequency ventilation, continuous renal replacement therapy, intravenous antibiotics, inotropes, sedation and analgesia. Care of ventilated patients in ICU requires a high number of consumables as per globally accepted infection control protocols. All consumables are transparently reflected in records and charged as per actual,” the hospital said.
The family said they will file a case in consumer court.