Private hospital in Cuttack holds patient ‘hostage’ due to pending bills

Keonjhar: A woman from Keonjhar is now moving from pillar to post seeking help to release her husband who has been allegedly held ‘hostage’ by the authorities of a private hospital in Cuttack over unpaid medical bills of over Rs 70,000.

According to reports, Tulasi’s husband Sukalal and daughter Kuntala were bitten by a venomous snake at Shankari village on August 17.

Though the family had called up 108 ambulance, it had not turned up. Later, both Sukalal and his daughter were rushed to Keonjhar hospital in an autorickshaw. However, Kuntala died on way to the hospital.

After preliminary treatment in Keonjhar hospital, Sukalal’s family was asked to shift him to Cuttack SCB Medical College and Hospital.

However, as the family could not arrange a government ambulance facility, a private ambulance driver and a middleman allegedly tricked the poor family to take them to SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack.

“After my daughter died on way to hospital, we were bullied by an agent who took us to a private hospital instead of taking us to SCB,” said Tulasi.

It is alleged that instead of admitting Sukalal to SCB, he was taken to a private hospital in Cuttack. The middleman allegedly convinced Sukalal’s family that the entire treatment cost would be around Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000.

However, the hospital is now demanding Rs 70,000 as pending against Sukalal’s treatment. Unable to pay off, Tulasi from Shankari village has now knocked the doors of Keonjhar Collector to help release her husband.

Tulasi reportedly has sold her cattle and even mortgaged her house to arrange funds for the treatment of her husband.

“It is unfortunate that the family was cheated after they failed to seek the benefits of the government schemes,” said Kiran Bala Nayak, a social activist.

Expressing concern over the incident, Keonjhar Additional District Magistrate, Bhakta Charan stated that the woman has brought such matter to the notice through a grievance before the Collector.

“We will conduct a detailed inquiry and appropriate action will be taken,” said a senior administrative official.