Hyderabad: Yashoda Hospital- Malakpet branch allegedly issued bills after the death of a patient. Twenty-year-old Annem Ramya, who was suffering from dengue, was brought to Yashoda on 12 October. She died on 14 October but the hospitals issued bills for 15 October as well, after her death.
"My daughter died on 14 October at 11:29 p.m as per their (hospital's) own death certificate wherein the cause of death is mentioned as severe dengue. After two days, I got bills from the hospital. I was surprised to see that the bills were for 15 October, even though my daughter died on 14 October," said Satyanarayana Reddy, Ramya's father.
What actually happened?
On 11 October, Ramya was taken to Pranahita Hospital in Dilsukhnagar when she started feeling dizzy. The doctors told her parents to admit her as she had a urinary infection. On the morning of 12 October, Ramya was doing well and she was being given injections. But when her mother Hymavathi went to visit her, Ramya told her that the injections were giving her headache and chest pain.
At around 3 p.m, Ramya suffered from breathlessness following which the doctors asked Satyanarayana Reddy to bring the injections. The parents were dissatisfied with the treatment at Pranahita Hospital and admitted Ramya to Yashoda Hospital at around 7-8 p.m on the same day. The parents collected blood from 14 people for dialysis.
At 11 a.m on 14 October, the parents were called for counselling where the doctors said the patient was in good health and that she was responding well to the treatment. At 7 p.m in the evening, when the parents went to see Ramya, she was lying unconscious. When they asked the staff, they said she did some physical exercise and was unconscious. They also told the parents not to contact them until 9 a.m the next day.
The parents immediately met Dr. Rahul. Later, at 10:30 p.m, a team of doctors, including Dr. Rahul, called them to inform them that Ramya was dead.
"When we questioned them about our daughter's treatment, immediately one Mr. Pratap Reddy, security-in-charge, came to us and informed us that Dr. Rahul who treated my daughter has been suspended," said Satyanarayana Reddy in his complaint to the Chaitanyapuri police.
Yashoda Hospital's response
On 25 October, Yashoda Hospital issued a press release clarifying the issue. They said that the patient was charged only for the medications and services provided prior to her death. "The allegation of charging the patient after her death is absolutely baseless. In critical life-threatening situations like this, the priority of medical staff and nursing is fully dedicated to all possible efforts to save the patient and billing for medication and other services rendered would only be taken up after treating the patient. So, it is not unusual for billing to carry over after a patient's legal definition of death date and timing and billing reconciliation done later to arrive at the final bill which would take some time, even after the patient's legal death," read the release from the hospital management.
Further, the hospital said, "In this case, as death was close to midnight, it carried over to the early hours of the next day, but she was only charged for the medications and services prior to her death. This kind of billing practice is the usual standard in major hospitals throughout the country and the world where final bill settlement date and time may be after the patient's actual discharge or death date and time and not exactly the same."
Meanwhile, responding to the incident, human rights activist Bakka Judson said, "In Telangana, corporate hospitals have become money-earning institutions and they are not even leaving the dead. To uplift corporate hospitals like Yashoda, the Telangana government is not providing proper infrastructure and medicines."