A doctor works in a coronavirus isolation wing in a hospital in Rome, Italy. | Bloomberg
File image of a doctor working in a Covid-19 isolation wing | Representational image | Bloomberg
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New Delhi: Sir Ganga Ram Hospital has waived the medical bills amounting to over Rs 4 lakh of a junior doctor who is suffering from Covid-19 and is undergoing treatment at the facility. The decision was taken days after a letter was written by the doctor’s father to the hospital’s director with an appeal to this effect.

Dr Joginder Choudhary, a 28-year-old junior resident doctor with a Delhi government hospital, has been undergoing treatment at Sir Ganga Ram since 8 July.

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr D.S. Rana, chairman of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said, “I saw the father’s letter on social media and decided to take a decision that we should help the doctor since he is a Covid warrior and contracted the disease while on duty. We will bear the costs of his treatment.”

Dr Rana also took to social media to announce this.

“This was a spontaneous response at morning tea on seeing a news in social media. The young Corona Warrior doctor earned and deserved this small gesture from our Sir Ganga Ram Hospital known for ethical services with humane touch (sic),” he tweeted Sunday morning.

An MBBS, Joginder has been working on an ad hoc basis at the Delhi government-run Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar (BSA) Medical Hospital and College for the last six months.

He had been working in the hospital’s flu clinic and then in its casualty ward until 23 June when he developed fever.

Four days later, on 27 June, he tested positive for Covid-19 and was admitted to the BSA hospital after he complained of difficulty in breathing. He was later shifted to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

According to the letter written by his father, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital had furnished a bill of Rs 3,44,317 until 14 July. The letter, which surfaced on social media on 17 July, said the family was unable to pay for the treatment.

The bill had grossed Rs 4,22,000 by 15 July, as seen by ThePrint.

Joginder’s father Rajendra Choudhary, a farmer in Neemuch district of Madhya Pradesh, told ThePrint, “The hospital has been levying a daily bill of Rs 50-60,000. There is no way I could have afforded the treatment. But it has now waived off the bill. I can only hope that the Delhi government helps frontline workers so that no other family has to go through the difficulties that we are facing.”


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Previously paid bills also waived

The hospital has also decided to return the previous amount (Rs 1.5 lakh) paid so far by the doctor’s family.

Talking about Joginder’s condition, Dr Rana said, “As of now, he requires oxygen. He is moderately sick but conscious. We are treating him to the best of our capabilities and since he is a young person we are confident that he will recover.”

Doctors at the BSA Hospital had also written to the Delhi government asking for financial help for the ailing doctor, but they are yet to hear back.

Choudhary said, “Rameshwar Sanghwa, nursing officer at BSA Hospital, and I had written a letter to the Delhi Chief Minister’s Office (on 9 July) asking for some form of compensation for doctors infected during duty. But I am yet to hear anything official for them.”

ThePrint had approached Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson Ashwati Muralidharan for a comment but did not get a response till the time of publishing this report.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had in April announced an amount of Rs 1 crore for the families of healthcare staff who die of Covid after contracting the virus on duty, but no announcement has been made so far for their treatment.


Also read: Staff testing Covid-positive force Bihar private hospitals to shut doors on non-Covid patients


 

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