Jharkhand's biggest medical state government-run college Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences is up against touts who scam patients for beds, medicines and blood bottles.
The touts can get your tests done quickly for a fee, get you a bed despite the hospital staff telling you that all are occupied, charge money to fix up appointments with doctors, help you get medicines by over charging and even provide blood bottles in a jiffy.
The hospital sees a footfall of 1,500 patients a day, mostly villagers, illiterate and poor, who flock from across Jharkhand for treatment at the institute. RIMS authorities said touts take advantage of their ignorance on free treatment at government hospitals and trick them into spending exorbitant amounts.
On Thursday night, an expectant mother from Ranchi's Sonahatu and her family members were cheated of Rs 600 after being told that it takes Rs 300 to get a bed and Rs 300 to arrange a doctor to conduct the delivery.
"He (tout) met us when we entered the hospital. He posed as a staff and asked for money to provide assistance," said 19-year-old Soramuni Devi. Devi was admitted for free after the doctor-on-duty and the nurses were informed.
Last month a family was cheated by a tout who promised to get their tests done for Rs 1,500. Victim Bimal Kant, a resident of Khunti, later learnt the tests were available at RIMS itself.
In January, a tout was caught taking money for blood bottles from relatives of accident victims. The family was then informed that blood units were free or given through donors.
A senior professor said a nexus between touts and hospital staff exists in the hospital. He added that there are people who trick patients to get medicines and diagnostic services from private clinics even when they are available at the hospital itself.
“Agents of private medicine shops and clinics also sit outside the ward,” said a senior nurse. She added that the administration turns a blind eye and every week there are at least two cases of cheating but most go unreported.
In a report by RIMS, into six cases of touts cheating patients in 2014, investigators found that the touts charged Rs 250 for getting a bed, Rs 350 for getting blood bottles and anything between Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000 for getting diagnostic tests done.
Under a new system launched in May, only one relative for a patient is allowed in the hospital. Officials said that this had reduced the influx of touts inside the hospital wards.
Director RIMS, Dr SK Choudhary said, "Earlier touts carried out their business inside the hospital. This was curbed. However, the RIMS campus is an open ground for them to operate."