Bengaluru: A 53-year-old man died Sunday (28 June) in Bengaluru after being allegedly denied admission by 18 hospitals, prompting the Karnataka government to issue show-cause notice against nine of them.
The man, who was suffering from high fever and breathlessness, tested positive for Covid Tuesday, two days after his death.
The patient’s family alleged they even called up 32 Covid hospitals, but all them said they don’t have beds.
The patient died Sunday at government-run Bowring Hospital moments before he was to be admitted, his family told ThePrint.
The state health department issued a show-cause notice to nine private hospitals Tuesday, asking them to reply within 24 hours.
The nine hospitals are Fortis Hospital, Mahaveer Jain Hospital, Suguna Hospital, Manipal Hospital, Brindavan Hospital, Rangadorai Hospital, Vikram Hospital, Sakra Hospital and Bowring Hospital.
“By denying admission to the deceased, your hospitals have violated the provisions of the KPME (Karnataka Private Medical Establishment Amendment) Act. You are liable for legal action in this regard. Therefore, you are required to reply in 24 hours as to why action should not be initiated against you under the provisions of the KPME Act and State Disaster Management Act,” according to the notice.
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The family’s ordeal
The 53-year-old businessman was first taken to Mahaveer Jain Hospital Saturday, a private non-Covid health facility, by his brother on a scooter.
The brother, who didn’t want to be identified, alleged the hospital denied admission.
When ThePrint contacted the hospital, its nodal officer Dr Nishant Hiremath said they could not admit the patient due to non-availability of beds at the time.
“We could not admit the patient as we did not have beds at the time. We had ten beds and all were full. So we advised the patient to go to another hospital, get the Covid test done and get admitted. We have increased our beds to 45 now, but even that is full for now,” he said.
The patient’s brother alleged the hospital staff asked him to take the patient immediately as he had Covid symptoms.
“They did not listen to us though we begged them to help my brother. Finally, the security guard of the hospital said he would call an ambulance and then we took him to another hospital,” the brother said.
The next several hospitals in the city where the family went to admit the patient also allegedly denied admission, saying the patient showed Covid symptoms and that there were no beds.
The man’s brother claimed they visited 18 hospitals in the city in total and all refused admission.
He also alleged that one of the hospitals said “if we did not leave immediately or if we tried to enter, they would beat us up and throw us out”.
The brother claimed that M.S. Ramaiah Medical College also denied admission, but when ThePrint contacted the hospital’s associate dean Dr Harish K., he said he had no information about the incident.
The brother told ThePrint the patient’s son is a Covid volunteer and helps the police and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike in their efforts to fight the pandemic, but no one came forward when they needed help.
“Despite all the work that was done to help people during Covid times, when we needed help, neither the government nor the hospitals came to our rescue. They just shut their doors on us,” he rued.
“Who is to blame for this personal loss? Hospitals do not have ICU beds available? What would we do? Our country’s health system has failed us,” said the nephew of the deceased.
‘Unable to bear this anymore’, the patient’s last words
After allegedly being denied admission in several hospitals Saturday, the patient was brought home and put on oxygen cylinders that the family had arranged.
On Sunday, the family called up 32 hospitals designated to treat Covid patients, but they all allegedly refused to admit the patient due to lack of beds, according to the patient’s nephew.
“We begged before officials in every hospital, asking them to admit my uncle. All we got was a big no and they claimed they had no beds,” the patient’s nephew said.
On Sunday, the patient was taken to a laboratory in Rajajinagar to get a Covid-19 test done. The results of the test came Tuesday, which turned out to be positive.
After the test, he was taken to Bowring Hospital, which agreed to admit the patient. Bowring had Saturday allegedly refused to admit him, saying their beds were full.
“They finally agreed, but before we could admit him, he died at the doorstep of Bowring Hospital,” added the nephew.
“His last words were ‘I am unable to bear this anymore. Take me home or admit me to a hospital’,” said the nephew, adding: “We highlighted this incident so that no other family or person goes through such an ordeal.”
When ThePrint contacted an official of the Bowring Hospital, he said they have been instructed not to issue any statement.
Bengaluru Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao told ThePrint they are waiting for the patient’s family to file a case of negligence.
“Let them file a case with us. We will take it up immediately and thoroughly investigate it,” Rao said.
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