The relatives of a 33-year-old patient admitted at the state-run JJ Hospital alleged that the doctors are compelling them to get medical tests done from private labs. They asserted that the illegal move was putting them under financial duress.
However, a doctor rejected the charge, saying that they advised the kin of patients to approach private labs due to lack of reagents at the hospital.
Talking to The Free Press Journal, a private lab agent admitted, “We get more than 100 blood samples for testing. The numbers are high during the night. Each laboratory has specific doctors with whom they tie up.” According to sources, important tests are not being done at the pathology laboratory of the hospital due to the dearth of kits and reagents. Priced between ₹250 and above ₹1,000, tests like thyroid, vitamin D-3, B-12, LH, FSH, prolactin, calcium, blood urea, CA125, and Hb1AC are asked to be done from outside, sources added.
Patients cite their experiences with the hospital
“Two tests, serum urea, and serum electrolytes, are not performed in the hospital. You have to get it done from outside. I am writing the test names on a paper along with the phone number of the laboratory. You have to call it and a lab agent will meet you at gate no 7,” said the relative of the 33-year-old patient while quoting a doctor. The relative continued, “The private lab's name is Pacific, which was located nearly 100 metres from the hospital's gate no 7. We met the lab agent who was accompanied by a colleague. The latter took the sample and asked us to come along with him. The person, whom we had called, stayed back to collect blood samples from the kin of other patients. They took ₹300 for our test.”
Private Lab Agents Circumvent Ban on Blood Sample Outsourcing
In 2022, JJ Dean Dr Pallavi Saple had banned entry of private lab agents while giving strict instructions that blood samples should not be sent outside the hospital for testing. However, it has been learned that the order was not taken seriously. A senior official said that this is not the first time blood samples are going out of the hospital for testing. It clearly shows the nexus of doctors or employees who get commission through these labs. “There many laboratories which work for JJ doctors and their staffers roam inside the wards taking blood samples. Sometimes, they give reports without even testing the samples,” said the official.
However, Dr Saple was unavailable for comments.