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    Posted August 29, 2014 by
    Mumbai, India

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    Fatal negligence by a hospital claiming tall

    There has been an all out effort to paint a golden picture of the K. D. Ambani Hospital at Andheri West, Mumbai, owned and managed by a well known Indian business group. It was even featured on the National Geographic Channel too, with a well known veteran Bollywood celebrity as commentator, portraying and boasting sky high the various equipment and facilities at the hospital. However, only those who suffered loss of their near and dear ones at the hospital due to negligence would know that all is not well there. Charging four to five times the normal rates prevailing in the country, the hospital is neither affordable nor conducive to the common people in India. Even if the exorbitant charges are somehow paid as demanded, if the patient is not a bigwig, he or she will have to suffer utter negligence and lack of care in the hands of the doctors and staff at the hospital. It is indeed welcome to project the positive aspects, but a hospital should never compromise on the treatment and care of the patient and this should transcend everything else. In fact, a hospital’s record on this should undoubtedly be the hallmark to claim a five star status. The torrent of complaints and grievances that unleash against the hospital on the net at the tap of a finger tell stories of bitter experiences which don’t go hand in hand with the tall claims.
    A relative of mine was admitted in that hospital sometime ago following a heart attack and he underwent bypass surgery (CABG), as advised by the doctors there. After the surgery all of us were happy that his condition stabilized and they shifted him from the step down ICU to a general ward, which incidentally was an orthopedic ward and that was the beginning of his entire ordeal. It all started with a slight sleeping disorder the next day and the nurse on duty did not even bother when his family promptly reported the matter to her and after much persistence she just checked the oxygen level and told that everything was alright and gave him some sedatives to induce sleep. After a couple of days the patient started experiencing breathing trouble and his family immediately brought the same to the notice of the doctors who were supposed to attend him. However, they just brushed it aside saying that it was usual in such cases, not even bothering to diagnose the cause of his trouble or treat him for the same. Within a week, his condition deteriorated and this necessitated readmitting him to the ICU. At the last moment when the situation slipped out of hand, they conducted an x-ray on the patient that too after a lapse of 10 precious days for a patient who underwent CABG procedures, and informed the family that he was suffering from acute pneumonia. It was too late, and after languishing for 12 days in the ward with his breathing trouble untreated, he passed away. We have strong reasons to believe that post surgery the doctors failed to give him proper care. When his breathing difficulty was first brought to their attention, they never bothered and finally one of the doctors even confessed and regretted their misjudgment to appropriately discern the patient’s breathing trouble. After surgery, instead of a proper ward for post CABG patients, he was shifted to the orthopedic ward, denying him vital care which he legitimately deserved after a heart surgery. Appallingly, the patient himself explained about his breathing difficulty to the doctors on routine visits to the ward and that too fell on deaf ears. During that time once a doctor on routine visit asked the on duty nurse to take a chest x-ray of the patient which the nurse later refused saying that the doctor did not write it in the patient’s daily chart. When his relatives fiercely insisted quoting the doctor, she phoned him and reiterated that x-ray was not required. All these laxities on the part of the doctors and the nurse corroborate that post surgery care rendered to him was quite unsatisfactory and below par. Let alone the hospital that boasts to be highly professional, even any ordinary hospital would impart better care to a patient who underwent a heart surgery and was under their treatment and care.
    All throughout the period when the patient was under their care, the hospital made his family virtually a pawn arranging money and making regular payments to them, and to one’s surprise the total hospital bills amounted to a whopping 1.9 million rupees!. The family is a lower middle class family and they borrowed money from all available sources, sold out all their ornaments and even mortgaged their house in the hope that their head and guardian, who was only 47, would recover and come back. Obviously they hoped that he would get better treatment and care at that hospital but it proved otherwise. Pathetically enough, the family not only lost their sole bread winner, but is currently in deep financial trouble too. The family consisting of his wife, two very young daughters and the elderly father of the deceased are left in the lurch. Being a big institution, it is quite easy for the honchos in the hospital to cover up the negligence by some evasive reasoning, but can they make up for the irreparable loss suffered by the poor family? Who will pay off the huge debt they incurred? Who will take the responsibility of bringing up his daughters, the younger one being only 12 years?
    It should be mentioned here that during the period when the above tragedy unfolded, a well known Bollywood actor of yester years also underwent identical treatment at the same hospital. This elite patient, who is a member of parliament too, recovered very well and is glowingly back as usual. Being a well known figure, he apparently received good treatment and care as any unpleasantness due to misjudgment or lag in this case would have brought an instant bad name to the hospital.
    Madhusudan (Madhu) was quite an extrovert socializing person, helpful to people and he used to be at the forefront of any social functions and gatherings, and the mental agony caused to his family due to his untimely demise is immeasurable. He was an excellent artist too, and the lively portraits and paintings made by him now serve as a source for his wife and sister to weep every time they look at them. The doctors and nurses who attended him are responsible for their carelessness culminating in his death and the hospital is more so for making an overkill which brought the family into such a precarious condition and also for pushing them into penury.
    The Executive Director of the hospital, instead of accepting the fault of negligence, proclaims in a response that “the hospital only cares not cures”. One has to take his tenet with a pinch of salt! Prospective patients beware!
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