The super-specialty hospital run by SevenHills Healthcare Pvt Ltd at Marol is scaring and humiliating poor patients referred by civic hospitals to compel them to leave without being treated, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation alleged in an affidavit filed before the Bombay high court.
Ashutosh Kumbhkoni, counsel for the civic body, on Wednesday submitted an affidavit filed by Dr Santosh Salagre, chief of hypertension services at Seth GS Medical College. The associate professor of internal medicine was appointed as an officer on special duty (OSD) by the civic body for inspecting the treatment of poor and needy patients referred by civic hospitals and medical centres at the super-specialty hospital.
“During my tenure, I came across several instances, which in my personal and professional opinion, are totally inhuman and unethical on the part of the petitioner [hospital management],” Salagre said in his affidavit. “Poor patients referred by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai faced the worst time of their lives by the staff members, including security personnel,” it said.
“Patients are asked to deposit exorbitant amounts before being admitted to the hospital,” Salagre’s affidavit stated, adding, “If full payments are not made, patients already admitted are compelled to get discharged.”
The OSD alleged that once the poor patients reached SevenHills, the hospital staff would begin its process of scaring and humiliating patients and their relatives.
“Every now and then they are told that the treatment there is costly and they do not deserve it and that their bills are rising,” the affidavit further said.
Counsel for SevenHills Healthcare, Vyankatesh Dhond, refuted the charges. “These are crocodile tears,” the senior advocate submitted, adding, “This corporation [BMC] is not interested in getting any poor patient treated at our hospital.”
The affidavit is filed in pursuance to the high court order of November 9, 2011. The order was passed in a petition filed by SevenHills Healthcare seeking direction to the civic body to grant them NOC for changing consortium of banks from which the health care major wanted to raise loans.
The civic body, on the other hand, maintained that the land belonged to them and the company could not have mortgaged the land for raising finances.
The civic body also alleged that the hospital was not complying with condition of providing free-of-cost treatment to needy patients referred by civic hospitals.