Hospital officials claimed patients were informed about payment options at the time of admittance, but the patients denied this.

Currency woes Patients stuck in hospital with limited payment options Representational image
news Demonetisation Wednesday, November 16, 2016 - 21:35

AB Naushad's wife, Asmath, was admitted to Colaco Hospital on Monday after she went into labour. Ashmath gave birth on Tuesday morning, and was set to go home on Wednesday morning. However, she is still in the hospital as her discharge procedure has been stalled.

"We received a bill of Rs 40,680. The hospital administration told us that we can pay by cash only if the notes are new. They did not accept a cheque, but told me to do an NEFT transfer. They did not even have a swiping machine. They said that they will not give us the medical prescription until the money has been paid. My wife is still in the ward and is in pain as she has undergone a caesarean procedure," Naushad said.

He said that he contacted the Deputy Commissioner, who told him that only government hospitals accept old notes and private hospitals are not bound by the rule. He was directed to seek help from the District Health Officer.

"I was waiting outside the DHO's office since 3pm but he never met me. Later, at 6pm, they told us that the DHO went home. No one is willing to help us," Naushad said.

Another patient, Jameela, was admitted to the hospital on Sunday morning for a hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus). Her husband, Mohammad Iqbal also has a similar tale to tell.

"The hospital staff told us that we can pay only through bank transfer if we did not have new notes. I did transfer the money but they said that they have not yet received the money. They told me to wait till tomorrow," Iqbal said.

The hospital officials, however, said that they had informed the patients about the NEFT transfer before they were admitted. 

"We also gave them instructions on how to make the online payment. This was done before the person was admitted. The prescription of medicines for the patient to take after being discharged will be given along with the discharge papers," a hospital official said.

Iqbal, however, said that the hospital’s claims were not true. 

"They never told us about the bank transfer or that they did not have a facility for us to pay by card. It was only after 6pm when they realised that they had not told us before we got admitted that they started informing other patients about the NEFT transfer," Iqbal said.

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