Tuesday 12 March 2013

Cutting Chai with Bhawana Somaaya - Day 65

A 'Hospital' fraud!
11.3.2013, Mumbai

I opened my mail and found this anguished letter which I need to share with all so that what happened to my friend should not happen to any one of us.

Hi Bhawana...

Pl read and forward/share with your social circle. This is a fraud that I personally experienced when my Mom was admitted to Bombay Hospital last week. Please alert people about FRAUD committed by BOMBAY HOSPITAL PHARMACY in nexus with the hospital staff.

Medicines that might not have even been prescribed by attending doctors & other non-necessary frivolous items (tissue boxes, thermometers, eau de cologne bottles, soap bars, gloves) are REPEATEDLY indented by the nurses -- IN EXCESS QUANTITY. And many times, even if the indented item (ordered multiple times by different nurses so difficult to keep track of) is not supplied, THE PATIENT IS STILL CHARGED FOR IT!!

My Mom's case (who's now recovering at home after a four-day stint at B.H.), PAN 40 (an antacid, to be taken only if necessary) has been INDENTED by the nurses 4 TIMES IN 27 HOURS! Each strip has 10 tablets; at the end of four days, my Mom had taken ONLY ONE TABLET. Of the remaining three unused strips, only two were traceable and returned to the pharmacy (for due credit).

The fourth strip was, most probably, not even delivered by the B.H. Pharmacy -- but it has been charged in the bill. And this is not just one stray instance but a REGULAR PATTERN that emerges in the billing. Another medicine (IMDUR 60) -- which was not available in the pharmacy and I was told to get from outside -- was nevertheless indented & charged TWICE. In this case, the Pharmacy definitely did not provide even one strip, yet credit was given only once.

The eau de cologne bottle (again something that was not really required for my Mom but arbitrarily ordered) supplied was of 100 ml but the charge was for a 250 ml bottle. To make it worse, the pharmacy initially refused to accept the (unopened) 100 ml bottle back claiming the supplied bottle was of 250 ml! Although they relented when I threatened to approach a higher- up, I couldn't get credit for the other fraudulently-charged items -- which I discovered only after paying the final bill.

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one being scammed in this manner. One of the nurses admitted that over-ordering and over-charging was a common complaint. There is, in all likelihood, an unholy nexus between the nursing staff (who order the medicines through indents), the pharmacy staff (who fulfill the orders & charge the medicines to the respective patients) and the ward boys (who carry the medicines from the pharmacy to the patient's bed/room).

Before leaving the hospital premises, I went to the medical director Dr D P Vyas's office and made a complaint about the same -- but it seemed entirely in vain. His two assistants, who heard me out, appeared to be completely oblivious (!) of such goings-on.

While it is hoped B.H carries out an internal investigation and takes necessary action, I request all those who read this post to alert friends, relatives regarding this sickening fraud whose victims are the harried families and relatives of patients.

Also, I strongly feel that the relevant government authority that licenses and regulates private hospitals needs to be alerted.

Deepak Sadarangani

Bhawana Somaaya / www,bhawanasomaaya.com

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