“With no stringent regulatory government mechanism in place, the families are financially and emotionally drained at private hospitals. My friend’s wife not only lost her husband at a leading hospital in Coimbatore, but she was kept in the dark about the treatment given to him,” Raghu Natarajan of Thanjavur said.
DT Next spoke to two such families who complained of fleecing by private hospitals in Chennai and Coimbatore. Both the victims, who succumbed to COVID, were top SBI officers. In another case, a patient admitted to a private hospital was treated for 14 days and tested negative, but he developed 50% lung infection, which was cured at Omandurar last week.
“After spending Rs 8 lakh at a private hospital, we decided to treat the lung infection at the government Omandurar hospital. CT scan, oxygen cylinders and the Remdesivir doses were free of cost here,” said S Priyan of Pallipattu in Tiruvallur district. When contacted, Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said that there are grey areas in both private and government hospitals. “Late referrals from private hospitals are becoming common and we are attending 80% of the total patients,” he said. People need to be more willing to get treated at government facilities and cannot be forced. Yes, there are sanitation and comfort-related issues at the government side, but government doctors have the expertise of handling more complicated cases, the Health Secretary explained.
On overcharging by private hospitals, Radhakrishnan said that the Directorate of Medical Services was acting through a medical Joint Director (legal) and there have been reimbursements. The State had also suspended the service permission for a few private hospitals over such complaints, Radhakrishnan said.
Omandurar hosp 1st in treating +ve patients
The Omandurar Government Medical College Hospital in Chennai, which is one of the designated COVID-19 hospitals in the State bagged the first position in the category of large health care institutions attending coronavirus cases. The hospital has so far treated over 18,000 positive patients. Another government hospital inside the King Institute of Preventive Medicine and Research is also gaining public confidence and has treated close to 3,000 patients recovering in 82 days.