Operation theatre's doors close for elderly woman

Hospital stalls EWS patients surgery, seeks more money

 A 70-year-old woman is struggling for life in a private hospital after being literally pulled away from the door of an operation theatre (OT) for want of money. Despite a recommendation by the Directorate of Health Services, Delhi government, to treat her for free, the hospital has denied surgery at a critical moment.

Pushpa Rani was admitted to BL Kapur Hospital, Karol Bagh, on July 13 and was diagnosed of meningitis. The family was quoted Rs 30,000 to 40,000 for the entire treatment, to which they agreed.

“We took loans at 15 per cent and 10 per cent interest from different people. We thought it was more important that my mother gets all right,” said Harish, Rani’s son. He is unemployed.

The younger son who sells cement is the only earning member of the family of eight which includes wives and children of both brothers and their ailing mother. He manages to make Rs 200 at an average.

However, when the bill of treatment was handed over to the family, it amounted to more than Rs 1 lakh. “The family did not know that there is a reserved quota in this private hospital for poor patients. When they approached me I told them about it. But the authorities did not accept their claim to convert from general patient to economically weaker section patient,” said Kusum Sharma, advocate, Delhi High Court.

The family then approached the State government and received a recommendation letter from the Directorate of Health Services. The letter said the hospital need not refund the money already taken from the patient’s family, but carry out further treatment free of cost.

Before the family could get a definitive answer from the hospital on this, on Thursday evening a senior doctor of the hospital recommended immediate surgery for the patient.


On Friday morning, Rani was taken to the intensive care unit for preparation for the operation. Just when her stretcher was to be moved to the OT, a dissenting note came from the administration that she cannot be operated until Rs 50,000 is deposited.

“The doctor said her condition will deteriorate if we wait even for a day. I tried the whole day to get the hospital authorities moving on this, but nothing happened,” said Sharma.

The deputy medical superintendent of the hospital, Dr Sanjay Mehta said the scheme for EWS works well in the hospital. However, he declined to give any immediate comment on the case in question.

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