Hyderabad: The wife of a COVID-19 victim has filed a writ petition in the Telangana High Court after Continental Hospital, Nanakramguda, refused to hand over her husband’s body. In the petition, Kondapuram Lavanya has alleged that the hospital has asked her to first clear the bill of Rs. 6,41,175.63.

Kondapuram Mohan Babu was admitted to Continental Hospitals on 17 July with high fever and respiratory problems. The hospital staff took his samples for COVID tests which came back positive. Since then, the doctors had been treating him for the coronavirus. On 22 July, they informed Lavanya that her husband had died of the virus.

“I am a daily labourer and my husband worked as a watchman at the Laxmikala Seshikala Theatre in Mossapeta, Hyderabad. My husband had no job after movie theatres shut down following the COVID pandemic. With no income, we were unable to make ends meet,” said Lavanya.

She had borrowed Rs. 2,50,000 from a family member to pay the hospital bill for which the hospital had issued a receipt. But on 22 July, they told Lavanya that the total bill amounted to Rs. 8,91,175.63. The victim’s family alleged that after deducting the advance of Rs. 2,50,000, the hospital authorities were demanding Lavanya pay the balance Rs. 6,41,175.63 and then take her husband’s body.

The victim’s brother, Venkatswami Kondapuram, said, “The hospital staff is not allowing us to see my brother’s body. The general manager of the hospital is threatening to call the police. We have managed to collect Rs. 1 lakh and told them we will pay the rest. Yet, they are refusing to allow us to see the body.”

When contacted the hospital, the authorities said, ” Despite best efforts, the patient developed complications and passed last night.  The bill was raised in strict accordance with government guidelines, the cost of consumables, ICU charges, medical tests, and other medical charges incurred on the actual treatment provided to the patient.  As an institution we are doing our very best in such testing times for all patients admitted with us. We empathize with the patient’s family, but such allegations are very disheartening and demoralizing to our staff and doctors doing greater public good”.

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