No surgery dates before payment in Patna’s private hospitals, say patients

PRIVATE hospitals in Patna have been insisting on a security deposit, usually the full amount, before giving out surgery dates, say patients and their relatives. This, they say, has led to surgeries and, in some cases, key treatment decisions – such as when to shift a patient to critical care – are being put on hold.

A Danapur resident, whose father-in-law is admitted to Paras HMRI hospital at Raja Bazar in Patna, said: “My
father-in-law suffered a heart attack and some of his neighbours brought him here. His son lives in Delhi. He was shifted to the CCU only after I reached here and made a deposit.”

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Rajesh Kumar, the relative of another patient who who was brought in for a gall bladder surgery, said he arranged
for Rs 20,000 in cash and paid the rest through credit card. “While private hospitals are not accepting old notes,
not all patients have cards. So patients are forced to request relatives with debit or credit cards to accompany them,” said Kumar.

Paras HMRI hospital medical superintendent Dr Asif, however, said, “It is not true that we are insisting on full or substantial payment before shifting a patient to the CCU. We do give life-saving treatment and do not defer any medical procedure for want of payment.”

As for surgery dates, Dr Asif said, the hospital waits for the patient to deposit 70-80 per cent of the fee before giving out dates. “But some patients are themselves deferring planned surgeries because of the cash crunch. Emergency surgeries are going on. What we do to ensure full payment is to accept a deposit and then ask the patient’s attendant to submit a promissory note saying that the rest would be paid later,” said Dr Asif.

The situation is the same in other private hospitals of Patna.

Bhawesh Sharma has travelled from a village in Darbhanga district with his uncle, who needs a prostrate surgery. As they sat in a Patna clinic, waiting for their appointment with the doctor, he said his uncle hasn’t got a date for
his surgery yet since they had no cash. “We are trying to contact some relatives who have cheque books. We barely managed Rs 5,000 in new currency and need at least Rs 50,000,” said Sharma.

Sitesh Yadav, a Maner resident, said he decided to get his father, who suffers from orthopedic complications and who needs a surgery, admitted to the government-run Patna Medical College Hospital. “I sought the advice of my friends. At the government hospital, I will at least save on the cost of surgery,” said Yadav.

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