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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Medicare despair in the dark

A string of major private hospitals in the city were approached on the night of May 26-27, with the following plea of admission:

A certain Mr A.C. Roy, 65, was having severe chest pain and convulsions after suffering a bump on the head earlier during the day. He needed immediate admission and so could a bed please be arranged' The patient had no money in hand till the next morning, but this was an emergency.

The individual responses — hardly heartening, apart from a few exceptions — are listed here. Those who quoted the highest admission fee are clubbed together in the graphic. The rest — and the best — find mention below:

The rest

• Peerless Hospital and BC Roy Research Institute

Location: Off EM Bypass

Time: 10.30 pm

Personnel present: A young emergency medical officer (Prasenjit Sarkar) and a few nurses

Will attend to emergency: Yes

Deposit demand: A “minimum fee” is a must

Official line: During an emergency, we charge only a nominal fee for admission. We have even admitted patients for Rs 50-100

— Rupak Barua, vice-chairman of the hospital.

 

• Rabindranath Tagore International Institute for Cardiac Sciences

Location: Off the EM Bypass, Mukundapur

Time: 11.45 pm

Personnel present: Manager on duty (Vijay Pratap Raghubanshi) and night supervisors

Will attend to emergency: No

• Official line: No beds were available in the CCU. If we do not have a single CCU bed, we ask people not to bring in the patient. We have only cardiac emergency here. If someone comes with associated trauma, we cannot do anything

—Udayan Lahiri, administrator

 

• Kothari Medical and Research Centre

Location: Alipore

Time: 1.30 am

Personnel present: Emergency doctor (P.B. Deb)

Will attend to emergency: No. Ventilator beds not available

Official line: “The emergency officer did the right thing, because other patients had occupied all the ventilator-equipped beds. Therefore, the suggestion that the patient try elsewhere is justified

— S. Jha, medical superintendent of the hospital

 

• BM Birla Heart Research Centre

Location: Alipore

Time: 1.55 am

Personnel present: Emergency doctor (Saswata Banerjee) and night supervisors

Will attend to emergency: Initially no. On insisting, the authorities said ‘yes’, but only at “patient party’s risk” since they didn’t have any backup facility apart from cardiac treatment

Deposit: No. Can pay the next morning

Official line: The doctor on duty is new here. We have all backup facilities and have on numerous occasions admitted patients during emergency cases without a thought

— Amit Deb, administrator of the hospital

The best

• Belle Vue Clinic

Location: Loudon Street

Time: 12.10 am

Personnel present: Emergency doctor, chief cardiologist and director of cardiology S.K. Biswas, along with Dr Saurabh Koley and Dr Mukherjee, and night supervisors

Will attend to emergency: Yes, immediately

Deposit: No, in emergency cases we do not expect payment during admission

Official line: We never ask for payments from emergency patients at night. Our patients pay as per the rules of the clinic the following day or thereafter

— P. Tondon in charge of the hospital administration

 

• Woodlands Hospital

Location: Alipore

Time: 1.20 am

Personnel present: Emergency medical officer (Dr Chatterjee) and night supervisors

Will attend to emergency: Yes, immediately

Deposit: Not required

Official line: Money might be essential, but it is second priority for us in an emergency. Attention is primary in such cases

 — Sumedha Sen, CEO of the hospital

 

• Calcutta Medicare Research Institute

Location: Diamond Harbour Road

Time: 2.10 am

Personnel present: Emergency doctors and night supervisors

Will attend to emergency: Yes, immediately

Deposit: No, that is not important now

Official line: When patients come in at night, we immediately arrange for their treatment. We do not insist on money. We ask them to pay the next morning, when banks open

—S.C. Iyer, CEO of the hospital

 

Apollo Gleneagles Hospital

Location: EM Bypass

Time: 3.30 am

Personnel present: Emergency doctors and nursing staff

Will attend to emergency: Yes, immediately

Deposit: Not required. Can pay later

Official line: We ask patients to pay within 24 hours following such an emergency admission

 — V. Satyanarayana Reddy, CEO of the hospital

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