Enam Medical College and Hospital authorities have been accused of not discharging two patients who failed to pay the full medical bill after treatment.
Since their treatment ended more than a month ago, patients Appy Rahman and her one-and-a-half month old baby are being held in children’s ward number 701, under surveillance by nurses and hospital authorities.
Anisur Rahman from Dogormora area in Savar municipality brought his wife Appy to Enam Medical on July 14 on being persuaded by a local broker. The six months pregnant woman was experiencing early contractions.
Later, the on-duty doctor recommended her to be admitted at the hospital.
After being admitted for nine days, Professor Sheuli delivered Appy’s baby on July 25.
Since the baby was born prematurely, its health worsened, due to which it was brought to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for a few days. After its recovery, Appy was advised to return home on August 17.
However, they were not allowed to leave without paying the full bill.
After eight days, the hospital authorities told her to sign on a blank paper, after which they shifted her and her baby to a common bed on the seventh floor in Ward 701. Since then, medical staff have denied them all assistance and keep them under continuous surveillance.
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Enam Medical College and Hospital Director Anwarul Quader Nazim Uddin said the new mother and her newborn have yet to pay their bill. However, he was not ready to make any comments regarding the matter, directing all questions to Dr Enamur Rahman, the hospital’s chairman.
When contacted, no response was received from Dr Enamur, who is also the local MP of Savar upazila.
This correspondent saw Appy and her newborn in ward 701, guarded by two nurses and an intern on duty, on Saturday evening. When confronted, intern Arnob refused to talk, saying the hospital authorities had restricted him from discussing the matter.
Meanwhile, she complained about the mistreatment towards them, since they were shifted to 701. The doctors on duty refused to attend them, even after her child became sick.
She claimed that the hospital director cruelly rebuked her and threatened to throw them out of the hospital.
Appy Rahman wants the hospital authorities to discharge her and her baby, dismissing the remaining bills.
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Her husband Anisur alleged that the hospital authorities overcharged his wife’s treatment, which is approximately Tk12 lakh. So far, he has paid Tk7 lakh, after selling his last resort, a piece of land in his village.
Having no other means, he even let the hospital know, which however was of no use, as instead he was constantly demeaned.
Anisur further claimed that his wife and child were kept in the hospital’s ICU and NICU for a longer period of time to add to their medical expenses. As he is now unable to pay the additional cost, the hospital has kept them under surveillance for over a month.
Md Ehsanul Karim, a civil surgeon of Dhaka Division, said: “According to the law, private hospitals must reserve 10% of their seats for poor patients. However, most large hospitals do not do so. No hospital can refuse treatment.”
He said that if a patient cannot afford to spend much, hospital authorities can revoke 10% from the total expenses. He also mentioned that if hospitals refuse to follow the enacted rule, necessary measures will be taken against them.
Savar upazila Health Complex and Family Planning Officer Md Amjadul Haque said no charges were found in regard to this matter. However, if a complaint is made, an investigation committee will be formed to find any misdeed committed by the hospital authorities, assuring necessary actions will be taken accordingly.