Ignorance not bliss for the sick

The EWS scheme for poor patients at private hospitals are open to people coming from other states as well. However, ill-informed patients sometimes end up paying their entire medical bill.

Sudha, an elderly woman from Aligarh, landed in exactly such a situation at a private hospital in south Delhi where her ailing son is admitted.

“I am ready to beg. I will not even regret selling off my land. But I want my son to get well,” says Sudha.

Tears well up in her eyes while narrating her son’s accident. Harinder was married for only nine days when he suffered major injuries in his abdomen.

He was rushed to a trauma centre in Uttar Pradesh where the treatment cost her thousands of rupees. However, he contracted infection in his kidneys at the centre.

With all options exhausted, the family came to Delhi for better treatment.

Like several others, the poor family was unaware of the possibility of free treatment at a private hospital.

“We didn’t know that such a scheme existed. We have already paid thousands of rupees. The hospital has given us an estimate of an additional Rs 3 lakh,” says Rajinder Singh, Sudha’s brother.

The family is planning to sell half acre of land, the only property left with Sudha. “Earlier, her in-laws were supportive but given the high amount, they have also backed out,” says Rajinder Singh.

The woman is burdened with not only the hospital fees that she owes to Max Hospital but also the amount she borrowed from her neighbours and friends.

The family is now running around to find a buyer for the land. “Given the urgency, people are trying to take full advantage of the situation by quoting low prices,” says Sudha’s brother.

According to Max Hospital officials, the solution for people like Sudha, who inadvertently do not enrol for the poor patient facility, is to clear the outstanding bill, get the patient discharged and readmit the patient under the EWS quota for free treatment.

Sudha says she deliberately did not go to a government hospital in Delhi as some relatives in Aligarh had painted a bad picture of government facilities. “Perhaps, that was a mistake. Had we taken my son to a government hospital, we could have been guided properly and sent to a private hospital,” she says.

For now, the gritty woman from Aligarh is in no mood to quit her battle to save her son. “I will make sure that my son returns home safe and sound,” she adds.

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