Patient held captive for want of money, probe ordered

October 21st, 2008 - 4:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Oct 21 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh health authorities have initiated a probe after an 18-year-old cardiac patient girl said she was held captive at a government-run hospital for a year for not depositing full fees for her treatment.”It is quite shocking. Realising the gravity of the matter, we at once ordered an inquiry when we came to know about the girl’s allegations before a section of the local media,” director general (medical and health) I.S. Srivastava told IANS Tuesday.

Salma, 18, had alleged that authorities at the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS) not only held her captive, but did not even allow her to see the body of her brother, who died four days ago in Varanasi.

“I pleaded with the hospital authorities, but they did not allow me even then,” she told reporters.

According to the hospital records, Salma came from Varanasi for her heart treatment in SGPGIMS in September 2007. At that time, a relative of the girl had deposited Rs.50,000 with the hospital administration.

However, the entire treatment of Salma, who had already suffered three cardiac arrests before coming to the hospital, amounted to Rs.150,000, hospital employees said.

Salma, with blocked heart valves, was under the supervision of the head of the cardio-thoracic surgery department Nirmal Gupta, officials said.

Asked about the incident, Gupta refused to say anything except that, “I have already made my point clear to SGPGIMS medical superintendent A.K Bhatt.”

When contacted, Bhatt said, “Although anything cannot be said before the completion of the inquiry, Gupta claimed that the girl was not discharged as none of her relatives or attendants turned up for her care.”

However, Salma’s mother R. Begum has rubbished Gupta’s claims and told the media, “the incident only exposes the callousness of the hospital administration.”

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