Revamped Health Services for the Nation
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TO WHOME SO EVER IT MAY CONCERN
When we see doctors complaining of the bad treatment at the hand of the public I would like to pen down about my father’s (now deceased) treatment at their hands. I put them in chronological order:
1. My father while working with Tata Motors had developed diabetes mellitus and used to be treated as outdoor patient at Tata Motor Hospital.
2. In the year 2003/04, possibly after taking some prescribed pain killer he had massive bleeding per rectum .He had to be given more than forty bottles of blood and his entire large gut removed at Tata Motor Hospital. However, he miraculously survived the incident because of few efficient and extremely skilled doctors of the Tata at that time. My father used to be a regular blood donor at the companies blood bank.
3. This loss of entire large gut was not due to his fault but it paved the way for further illness as he could not take regular exercise sessions and had to visit the toilet every now and then. It affected him both physically and mentally. His kidneys and heart were affected and had to undergo angioplasty and stenting at Fortis, Anandapur, Kolkata cost borne by Tata Motors.
4. He was on dialysis for his kidneys but continued activities of daily life and duties at Tata Motors. In the mean time he was preparing for renal transplant. The greatest setback came when he was refused surgery at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi at the last moment having undergone all the ancillary tests (he along with the donor) that too, over a causal talk, without any counselling or meeting of any sort. By this time he had spent a couple of lakhs for all these tests at Ganga Ram plus to and fro journey from Jamshedpur to Delhi along with wife and the donor and staying at Delhi. Please consider the time wasted. We do not begrudge anybody but only wish to point out the way we were neglected at Sir Ganga Ram on the pretext of donor not being a blood relative at the last moment. This made him to seek fresh consultation in Fortis and Belleview Nursing Home Kolkata. He was assured that transplantation could be done at Belleview.
5. At this point I would also like to mention that the transplant counsellor and head of nephrology at Sir Ganga Ram told us that they just cannot help us anymore and were not afraid even if we went to court because they have been coming across such cases when we asked them why are they taking such harsh steps of denying us of our rights at this point of progress. We had also filed an RTI requesting for all details of how our case was handled and why were we not given in written that they will not pursue our case any further, but nothing good came out of that too. We have till date got no response.
6. His dialysis continued with a channel made in his left forearm at Tata Motors Hospital this time three times a week. He developed cough which was attributed to allergy and dialysis by the doctors at Tata Motor Hospitals and the diagnosis of tuberculosis was missed and not considered at all for want of a CT scan which was advised by my uncle also a doctor.
7. In September 2016 his creatinine level increased (resulting in lowered sodium levels, disorientation and senselessness in the legs) and he came for a checkup at Belleview and was admitted immediately, without throwing any light on how he will be diagnosed or treated or how long will he be kept there since it was Durga Puja during that time and the entire medical and 90% of the support staff was on leave. Not just the doctor under whose care he was admitted went on Dussera leave and the situation was such that Bell view had hired hands to work as nurses during these puja holidays. . It needs to be noted that in Kolkata it is expected that one shall not get seriously ill during the pujas since no help shall reach you. My father’s condition started deteriorating without specialist attention. He suffered a seizure, an undetectable infection, partial kidney failure and all we could do was watch him almost die, helplessly. The junior doctors were patient but incompetent. Added to this was the behavior of the support staff who wouldn’t bend a bone without seeing the note, who were stricter than the BSF guarding our borders when it came to relatives waiting with patients to seek doctor’s advice, the nurses had to be told by patient party how to check sugar levels and connect machines to read pulses, and my father complained of being hit by people and only asked for us to take him out as soon as possible. Seeing the neglect and the rising bills being quoted by the hospital we decided to shift daddy to Fortis where some of our expenditure would be covered by the company policies. However this was a task of its own. His release was delayed by 3 to 4 days more because of the incompetency of the junior doctor, absence of the senior doctor and my father’s condition had already been deteriorated by the nurses to such a condition that it was doubtful if he could be shifted at all. He had to be shifted to Fortis Hospital after a hefty payment at Belleview (6-8 lakhs for 13 days). Also the dialysis channel at his left arm got spoiled at Belleview possibly for taking blood pressure and testing sugar from the same arm.
8. Under an extremely efficient nephrologist at Fortis (who had seen my father earlier, much before we had approached Sir Ganga Ram Hospital), promptly diagnosed that my father had inadequate dialysis at Tata Motor Hospital because of which his all these issues had cropped up. The doctor advised an ad-hoc channel in his neck for dialysis. His condition improved, and on discharge, joined back duties at Tata Motors, Jamshedpur. Tata Motors bore the cost of his treatment at Fortis and we are immensely grateful to them for this gesture.
9. He continued to take his dialysis at Tata Motors Hospital when he started to complain of severe backache. The backache was ignored and X-ray spine was not taken least a CT and thus tuberculosis of spine was missed which probably had its start in the lungs for which he had so much of cough.
10. It was felt by Tata Motors that he is unfit to serve because of his physical condition and was asked to take volunteer retirement. He gave up his quarters, shifted to Kolkata and continued his dialysis three times a week at Fortis. All expenses are now to be borne by my mother through whatever savings my parents had since all insurance has been exhausted.
11. At Fortis, on being referred by the nephrologist, renowned Cardio-thoracic surgeon (who most probably was a member of the visiting staff for Fortis) looked at my father and declared that a new channel must be made in his right forearm at a cost of Rs.75000/- since his left forearm channel is not working properly and cannot be retrieved. Even-though the new channel The newly made channel did not work even for a single day our bill had somehow escalated to 150000/-, assuring a high level Doppler was done to see the condition of his veins and arteries and also the technique used was more advanced.
12. As the right arm channel could not be done even at a cost of inflated Rs 150000/ doctors now ordered angioplasty or cleaning of the existing left arm channel at a further cost of around Rs 3.5 lac and all of it now at own expense as an OPD patient.
13. On 9 Mar 2017 he was admitted for weakness of his legs. MRI showed he had abscess around his vertebra.
14. His legs became limp and on 15 Mar2017 it was detected in the X-ray that his vertebra (D9) had collapsed due to tuberculosis.
15. On 16 Mar 2017 a young but experienced neurosurgeon operated on his spine to fix it. He removed the stitches the 7th day after the operation and the wound gave away still he discharged him home. He re-stitched the wound after the 9th day even-though it got infected. Again after a couple of days he cleaned and re-stitched wound under general anesthesia. By now he had infection of the whole body detected not only in the wound discharge but also in his blood culture.
16. He continued to remain in hospital with septicemia and breathed his last on 7 April 2017 at 1:15 p.m.
Now Sir/Ma’am this was the story of our journey with my father’s illness which was neglected at each and every step and us being exploited everywhere. The pain of losing him has been increased by the feeling of being fooled by people who are considered “God on Earth”, our doctors. Till date my concern remains:
1. Would a layman know what TB of spinal cord is and what are it’s symptoms? Is it not the responsibility of the doctors and persons in medicine to detect such huge diseases in time and inform patient’s party for immediate action.
2. We had put in money at every beck and call without any delays or questions asked. But is this how we are repaid? Why is it expected from people who are not as well to do, not to create a ruckus when their patients’ cases is spoilt or neglected by the doctors. Bellevue charged as hugely extra from medicines and treatments at the guarantee of quality of service? So does the pricing of commodities the only concern? Not one ward-boy or canteen staff helped us without being paid for every little thing. Nurses were for show since I personally taught a few of them how the sugar measuring device works and the how to make the saline drip work.
3. Kidney disease and transplant is a huge concern in the country. During the same time as my father’s case, after we were practically shooed out by Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in March, 2016, came in the case of Ma’am Shushma Swaraj. Seeing her getting back to work after a quick surgery we felt there is still hope and things will work out for us too. But we forgot we are commoners who need to go through all paper work, wait in lines, fulfill legal obligations, pay up all their savings and could still be denied our basic rights.
4. Shouldn’t the doctors in any multispecialty hospital work as a team? How so that we as patient parties had to coordinate the doctors’ decisions and meetings to discuss our case. First we had to wait for as long as 4 to 5 hours to get to meet our doctors in OPD as suggested by the hospital staff and due to hospital rules, then we had to base our decisions on just one doctors suggestions and run to the other doctor to get clarity and again wait over there to meet him, we came to know that certain things the doctors never discussed amongst themselves, sometimes we wanted senior doctor’s advice but action (like opening up and re doing stitches within 15 days of operation on a diabetic CKD patient) had to be taken by showing blind faith over just one doctor. How does one justify this mismanagement?
5. We for a moment wouldn’t have doubted the doctor’s caliber since we did get to meet and talk to Daddy up to 15 days after his first operation to remove the abscess. It means the operation was successful. After the second operation of removing his infected area we got to speak to dad again since again the operation was successful then how did he succumb to septicemia? Doesn’t it hint towards infected environments within the OTs and shouldn’t higher level of care be taken to put that aspect to check. There were 5 other patients in the ICU on 7th April who had succumbed to septicemia after surgery in Fortis, Anandapur, including a young female who had come in for just a stone removal surgery and was in the ICU for more than a month by then. Are people’s life such a joke that extreme care cannot be taken?
6. Now when I think about it I wish to say it will be pertinent to find if surgeons in Fortis actually truly have cases of successful surgery on extremely critical patients. Has other referring doctors no say on such matters? Has the hospital no audit system or it is only to cheat people? Have the doctors lost all humanity and shame.
In the 21 century someone developing paralysis of legs due to tuberculosis of spine going undetected because his symptoms being belittled to a cough and backache is both incredulous and pitiable. The hankering for money by doctors cannot be pardoned and it stems from the organization setting them targets perhaps – making it an unhealthy medical industry. What happens to the family who not only loses the beloved husband, father, brother and friend but has to bear the financial burden? We belong to the service class community from a modest industrial town of Jamshedpur, where very hard work had been put into earning all the money that was put into these treatments. Also, I am the only daughter who has just gotten into starting her carrier and one who feels helpless to see her parents suffer this way.
Kindly take this letter as a mean to communicate the problems a common man goes through to get access to the basic human right of “Right to a Healthy Life” in our country when they choose to follow the correct legal path for get treated. This is my way to indicate on a national level India needs revamping of the health sector with a combined effort of the Public and Private players in operation.
I would be highly obliged if due action is taken to ensure speedy recovery and a healthy environment for all in our country. We would be happy to share all detailed bills, test reports and communication documents between hospitals, insurance companies, Tata and us as we proceed with this.
Priyadarshini Ghosh (D/O Late Gautam Ghosh)
Sharmila Ghosh (W/O Late Gautam Ghosh)
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