The title of this write – up might seem rather strange to some while others might think it to be an exaggeration but let me proclaim explicitly in the very beginning that by no means is the title either ‘lurid’ or an ‘exaggeration’.
The present day health care system of our country has witnessed such moral degradation that hospitals today consider patients synonymous to money minting machines. Worse still, this money – mania which has become the prime driver of the modus operandi of a number of hospitals these days, is leading the hospital administration to even resort to evil tactics such as veiling the facts and figures including the actual condition of the patient. The impunity with which hospitals resort to such filthy tactics made us jot down this piece of article.
For all those who are still skeptical regarding the title not being either lurid or exaggerated, we pen down an incident here that stands testimony to all that has been stated above.
Adya, the seven year old daughter of a couple, contracted Dengue and her parents had to admit her to Rockland Hospital in Dwarka. The child’s father says that upon her admission into the hospital, the hospital authorities took the case quite lightly, just like any other case of Dengue. Surprisingly, just after two days of the child’s admission into their hospital, the hospital authorities suggested to the child’s parents to get her admitted to Delhi NCR’s best Pediatric ICU (PICU) which was the Fortis Medical Research Institute (FMRI) located at Gurgaon.
Now comes the first instance of apathy. On the day the child was discharged from their hospital for being admitted to FMRI, the Rockland Hospital refused to arrange an ambulance saying that their hospital did not provide ambulance to outgoing patients who were referred to other hospitals. Such a lame excuse despite there being almost five ambulances queued up outside the hospital, all there to bring patients into the hospital (a sign of exorbitant earning for the hospital) but none to carry any out of the hospital (since discharged patients have already been looted quite thoroughly by the hospital administration). Helpless in such an emergency, Adya’s parents arranged an ambulance on their own and took their child to Fortis Medical Research Institute (FMRI), Gurgaon.
As was quite obvious, Adya’s admission into FMRI that had a full – fledged PICU, was reason enough for her parents to heave a sigh of relief believing that their daughter would now be getting the best possible treatment. Also, as was usual, a number of friends and relatives would visit the hospital everyday expecting to hear from Adya’s parents that their daughter was recovering speedily.
However, things took an unexpected turn for the child’s parents when after fifteen long days full of worries and prayers for them, the doctors at FMRI informed them that in an MRI analysis, they had found the child’s brain to be immensely damaged and recovery seemed impossible. They were then asked in a pretty straight – forward manner whether they wanted to continue the treatment at the hospital or wanted to opt for ‘leaving against medical advice’ (LAMA)? A predicament of sorts.
Caught in a dilemma, an unofficial advice came their way. The hospital authorities advised them to take their daughter home and also apprised them that the most they could do for them was to not remove the ventilator inside the hospital premises. Numbed by such an advice, Adya’s parents decided to take their beloved daughter home.
It is now that they realize, say the child’s parents, the conspiracy behind that ‘unofficial advice’ of not removing the ventilator in the hospital premises. Had Adya been removed from the ventilator in the hospital, it would have become mandatory on the part of the hospital authorities to report her death due to dengue inside the premises of their hospital.
That was not all the apathy that the hospital staff had to display. Even after receiving a payment of eighteen lakh rupees from Adya’s parents, they were also asked to pay for the cloth that their child wore during the treatment. How? Well, after Adya’s parents had made all the payments, they were told that Adya’s clothes were not fitting. In response, they asked the hospital authorities to let their daughter be discharged wearing the hospital gown. Such a small request of theirs, said the hospital staff, would be fulfilled, but at a price of Rs. 900/-.
Worse still, they were asked to arrange their own ambulance while taking their child home. However, upon persistent requests by Adya’s father, the hospital did provide them an ambulance. But wait! When everybody’s being apathetic with Adya and her family, how could the ambulance driver be, on the contrary, sympathetic? Having dropped Adya and her family home, the guy in the ambulance goes up to Adya’s father and demands the white bed – sheet (in which little Adya was wrapped) to be returned. The reason, he said, was that he had to submit the bed – sheet at the hospital. He also mentioned the bed – sheet to be quite expensive as it had an embedded GPS chip (the authorities at Fortis later confirmed the same). Sadly, this was the level of sensitivity that the best hospital in Delhi NCR, Fortis Medical Research Institute (FMRI), Gurgaon, had to offer.
In a nutshell, the parents admit their child to the best hospital in the city. The hospital falsely pumps the child’s heart and inflates her lungs through machine support for a total of fifteen days, then declares the recovery of the child impossible, makes the parents pay a hefty sum of eighteen lakh rupees in the name of the hospital bill and in the end refuses to arrange an ambulance and also asks the parents to pay even for the last cloth that their child wore. We leave it for the reader to decide if there could be anything more heart – breaking for the parents of any child.
That was, however, not the end of all the misery for Adya’s parents. Although suffering from the pain of losing their beloved daughter, they still had to run from hospital to hospital in order to obtain a certificate claiming that their child was no more.
Our ‘system’ made them run from pillar to post once again when after a month of their little daughter’s sad demise, they sought a death certificate to be issued. The procedure for it, they say, was so complicated that they were being required to submit a plethora of documents and just in case they dared cross – question the authorities, the sarcastic interrogation, “If you cannot produce all these documents, what is the need of getting a death certificate issued?”, was always on the lips of the authorities. Accept it or not, our ‘system’ is in such a sorry state of affairs that the worth of a paper is considered much more than the pain that a father who has lost his child has gone through.
Adya’s parents have hitherto not been able to understand whom to blame for the untimely and sad demise of their beloved seven – year old daughter.
And that is the question we would like to leave all our introspective and thoughtful readers with.
Are the administration and / or the system to blame for not putting in required efforts to control the breeding of mosquitoes during monsoon (which is the peak season of mosquito breeding) or should the modern – day five star corporate hospitals of the likes of the Rockland Hospital and the Fortis Medical Research Institute (FMRI) that charge hefty amounts from patients and their families for fulfilling their net worth targets be blamed?
Also, are those abjectly insensitive (death certificate issuing) authorities of our system not to blame who did not even have the least of empathy for the parents who had lost their seven – year old daughter?
And finally, in cases like that of little Adya, is it wrong to equate hospitals to slaughter houses which, under the garb of providing the best possible treatments to its patients, monetarily butcher patients and their parents and relatives?