The family of a 60-year-old female COVID-19 patient died in an ambulance outside a private hospital in Kolkata on Tuesday allegedly while awaiting admission.
The family hails from Tamluk in East Midnapore district and was asked to deposit Rs 3 lakh demanded by the staff at Desun hospital on EM bypass but they failed to arrange for the money on time.
The deceased woman's son slammed the hospital and termed his mother's death a murder by the hospital and not due to the coronavirus.
"My mother was not well, she had cardiac issues for a long time. We brought her to another hospital in Kolkata first when she was tested positive for covid. She had to be shifted to a COVID-19 facility, hence we went to Desun," said Lajim Khan.
Lajim had brought his mother from another hospital to Desun by ambulance and was asked to pay Rs 3 lakh as deposit money. He was also told that the maximum amount required daily for his mother’s treatment would be Rs 70,000 and would gradually decrease.
Khan paid Rs 30,000 through his credit card and Rs 50,000 through his debit card. He told hospital authorities that he will pay the remaining amount and to asked the officials to start the treatment. The hospital authorities, however, refused to treat the patient, alleged Khan.
With no option left, Khan called up his cousin in Abu Dhabi to seek help, who in return assured him of help but required some time to transfer funds.
"My cousin from Abu Dhabi was shattered to know this and asked me for an hour's time to transfer whatever he could. Within one hour, he transferred Rs 2 lakh to the hospital's account. I showed the screenshot of transaction to the authorities, they said, they have not received any notification yet," said Khan who also alleged that he requested the hospital authorities to admit his mother as he showed them proof of the transaction made, but hospital authorities refused to do so.
It was only when hospital authorities got the notification of the transaction, they allowed Khan to bring his mother, but it was too late and she died while waiting in the ambulance.
The West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission has issued an advisory to cap advance deposit during admission as Rs 50,000 after repeated incidents coming to light of exorbitant amounts charged by hospitals in the state.