The hospital defended the bill even as the health minister vowed to investigate
Social media outrage over a $25,000 (£18,850) hospital bill charged to the family of a seven-year-old who died of dengue fever near Delhi has prompted India’s health minister to investigate.
The family says they were billed for more than 600 syringes and 1,600 pairs of gloves in a two-week period.
The issue came out after a tweet by a family friend last week expressing outrage got more than 10,000 retweets.
The private hospital in Gurgaon, a Delhi suburb, has defended the charges.
The details of what is reported to be the 20-page bill have been circulated on Twitter, and there have been allegations that the hospital overcharged for things like strips that check blood sugar levels.
“We will take all the necessary actions,” health minister JP Nadda said on Twitter, as outraged netizens began tweeting at Fortis memorial hospital.
But Fortis memorial hospital issued a statement which said that they followed standard protocol, adding that the care of “ventilated patients in ICU requires a high number of consumables as per globally accepted infection control protocols”.
The girl, identified as Adya Singh, died in September. She was diagnosed with dengue fever in August and admitted to Fortis Memorial Research Institute after her condition worsened towards the end of the month.
Her father, Jayant Singh, told local media that she was put on ventilator the next day. “We were told that there might be some brain damage,” he said, but claimed that no MRI scan was done.
In a statement, the hospital said that she was admitted with “Severe Dengue, which progressed to Dengue Shock Syndrome,” adding that the family was kept informed of her “critical condition.”
- Dengue fever is prevalent in sub-tropical and tropical regions, including South East Asia and South America
- It is a major cause of illness worldwide, causing about 100 million episodes of feverish illness a year
- Symptoms include high fever, aching joints and vomiting
- Complications can prove fatal in extreme cases
- There are four major strains of the virus
Mr Singh admitted that they requested a discharge for their daughter despite the hospital advising against it. But he said that the girl died inside the hospital before she could be transferred.
In an emotional status posted on Facebook, which has since gone viral, the father said the family had to arrange an ambulance themselves, saying it was shocking that “the hospital refused to provide an ambulance to take our dear daughter’s body back home.”
He later said that the hospital also demanded that they return and pay for the hospital gown she was wearing when they took her body away.
Source: The BBC