Fortis Hospital slaps Rs16 lakh bill on dead kids' folks; minister vows action

Union Health Minister J P Nadda has sought a report from Gurugram's Fortis Hospital after it allegedly charged the family of a seven-year-old dengue patient, who later died, Rs16 lakh for 15 days in the ICU, and refused to release the body till the bill was paid.

On Monday, Nadda had assured that all necessary action would be taken into the case.

A Twitter user @DopeFloat in a post alleged, "One of my batchmate's 7 year old was in @fortis_hospital for ~15 days for Dengue. Billed 18 lakhs including for 2700 gloves. She passed away at the end of it..." The tweet later went viral on social media.

The family of the deceased, Adya Singh, alleged that the doctors continued her treatment in the ICU, in full knowledge that her condition had deteriorated beyond cure in September. The family alleged that they were billed about Rs15.6 lakh for the two-week hospital stay, including for 611 syringes and 1,546 pairs of gloves.

Health Minister Nadda said on twitter, "Please provide me details on hfwminister@gov.in. We will take all the necessary action."

According to Jayant Singh, the father of the victim, the hospital even billed Rs900 as the cost of a hospital gown she was made to wear while being taken from Fortis to another hospital where the death certificate was issued.

The girl was taken off a ventilator after suffering more than 70 per cent brain damage. ''They kept putting off an MRI on the pretext that she would have to be taken off ventilator finally the MRI showed 70-80 per cent brain damage they said no death certificate would be issued if we left the hospital, as it would be 'leave against medical advice'. At this stage, a doctor approached my wife and offered to do a full-body plasma transplant for Rs15-20 lakh,'' he said.

Ajey Maharaj, head corporate communication, Fortis Hospital, said all standard medical protocols were followed and all clinical guidelines were adhered to.

''An itemised bill over 20 pages was explained and handed to the family patient was treated in the Paediatric ICU for 15 days and was critical right from the time of admission, requiring intensive monitoring,'' he said.

''Treatment during these 15 days included mechanical ventilation, high frequency ventilation, continuous renal replacement therapy, intravenous antibiotics, inotropes, sedation and analgesia. Care of ventilated patients in ICU requires a high number of consumables all consumables are transparently reflected in records and charged as per actuals,'' he added.

The victim's family has now sought for a thorough investigation in this matter.

''I want to appeal for an investigation and if any changes are required in the laws, they should be made. I would not like other people to suffer like we did,'' Jayant told news agency ANI.