Relatives carried away a patient from a private hospital in south Calcutta, holding the employees at gun-point and without paying the bill amounting to Rs 70,000.
The incident occurred at AMRI Hospitals, Dhakuria, on Tuesday night. The hospital authorities have lodged an FIR against the patient, Sudip Kumar Singh, 23, a resident of Panchanantala Road, in the Lake police station area.
According to the AMRI authorities, Singh was admitted to the hospital (assigned bed 2249) on March 9, after he met with a road accident on Cornfield Road.
“He had suffered serious injuries on the face, neck, chest, hip and thigh and had multiple fractures in the right leg,” said S.B. Purkayastha, president of AMRI. Singh had to undergo a number of surgeries and a plate was implanted in the fractured leg.
With his condition improving, the doctors on Tuesday decided to release him on Wednesday and had issued the discharge certificate.
The hospital had charged Singh around Rs 1.16 lakh, of which the relatives had paid Rs 45,000. “The family members asked for a concession on the amount and assured us they would clear the bill on Wednesday morning,” Purkayastha added.
Around 9.30 pm on Tuesday, a group of men and women came to the hospital enquiring after Singh. “The women, including Singh’s mother, suddenly picked a quarrel with the staff at the reception over the unpaid amount, while the men went up to the second floor and forcibly entered the male general ward,” Purkayastha said.
The ward has 14 beds, most of which were occupied.
“A group of men barged in and started shouting at the attendant and the male nurse. They shifted the patient to a trolley after forcing the nurse out of the room and walked off,” recalled Swapan Das, a patient in the ward.
They pushed the trolley through the lobby to the lift, where liftman Tapan Mondal demanded to see the discharge certificate before carrying them down.
“Unable to produce the certificate, a man in the gang fished out a gun and told me to carry out their orders in silence. I had no option but to take them down,” Mondal said.
The women had, by then, left the hospital.
As Singh was being wheeled out, securitymen at the gate tried to stop the men but they were shooed away.
“They said they would be forced to open fire if we did not allow them to leave. We hardly had an alternative,” said Nurul Naskar, one of the four securitymen on duty at the gate on Tuesday night.
Police said they were probing the incident. “We have received a complaint and will find out if the charges are true. Our officers will visit the address mentioned in the complaint and speak to all concerned,” said an officer of Lake police station.