A 60-year-old patient succumbed to COVID-19 inside an ambulance on Tuesday while waiting for the admission in the private hospital at EM Bypass in Taluka city of West Bengal.
Family of the deceased alleged that the hospital denied admission to the patient until they arranged ₹3 lakh admission fee. The patient, a resident of East Midnapore's Tamluk, had lost her husband to the virus three days ago.
"The hospital authorities asked us to pay ₹3 lakh to admit her. She died while we were trying to arrange the money. We had already told the hospital that the patient's condition was critical and the family would soon deposit the amount," The Indian Express quoted a relative of the deceased.
The family informed that the woman was earlier admitted to a nursing home at Park Circus where she had tested positive. The nursing home recommended the woman to be shifted to a dedicated COVID Care facility. Following which the elderly woman was brought to Desun Hospital on Monday night.
The hospital demanded ₹3 lakhs as an advance deposit, for which they paid ₹80,000/- as the first instalment. But the hospital still denied admission and demanded the deposit of the full amount. Despite facing issues, the family somehow paid another ₹2 lakh, but the hospital asked for the rest of the ₹20,000/-. The patient all this while was in an ambulance and eventually succumbed to the infection.
However, the authorities denied all such claims and claimed the patient had already died before reaching the hospital. The family has now lodged a complaint against the hospital authorities with Anandpur Police.
This is reportedly the first police complaint about hospital charging exorbitantly to COVID-19 patients, after the state government's regulatory commission barred hospitals from charging more than 20 per cent of the estimated cost and had put a cap on advance deposits for the hospitals, limiting it to ₹50,000 during the admission.