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Rs25,000 ‘bolt’ from hospital was why Pune senior citizen knifed doctor

The family of 75-year-old patient, who shares his 350 sq ft rented tenement at Bharekar chawl in Nanded Phata with a family of four, said the exorbitant bill ‘angered’ him to attack the doctor

pune Updated: Sep 22, 2017 15:01 IST
Shrinivas Deshpande
Shrinivas Deshpande
Hindustan Times, Pune
Doctor attack,Pune,Sinhagad Speciality Hospital
Pune, India - Sept. 21, 2017: Maruti Shivrale at his residence in Pune, India, on Thursday, September 21, 2017. (Photo by Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)

Three days after a furious, 75-year-old chronic asthmatic attacked his doctor with a knife over the cost of his medical treatment, the patient explained to Hindustan Times the circumstances in which he committed the crime.

It was on Monday (September 18) evening, after four days of being admitted to the Sinhagad Speciality Hospital at Nanded Phata, off Sinhagad Road, that Maruti Shivrale (75), suddenly whipped out a knife kept next to his bed for cutting fruits, and attacked Dr Santosh Awari. The doctor had come on his evening rounds to examine patients.

Dr Awari suffered minor injuries to his right hand and stomach and later filed a complaint with the Sinhagad police against his assailant. Even as news of the attack spread like wildfire — as this was yet another attack on a medical professional in Maharashtra — Dr Awari withdrew his police complaint. “I am not interested in court and police matters and hence I voluntarily withdrew my complaint,” Dr Awari told Hindustan Times, explaining his unusual step. On Thursday, however, Dr Awari said he withdrew his complaint out of compassion for the old man.

In the commotion that followed at the hospital after the attack, Shivrale and his 35-year-old unemployed son Sudhir walked out in a huff, leaving the old man’s treatment incomplete. The police did not pursue the matter as the complaint stood withdrawn.

On Thursday, Shivrale and his son recounted the unfortunate incident while speaking to a HT correspondent who visited him at his 350 sq ft rented tenement at Bharekar chawl at Nanded Phata.

Maruti Shivrale was admitted to the Sinhagad Speciality Hospital at Nanded Phata on September 18. ( HT PHOTO )

“I apologise on behalf of my father,” said Sudhir, who has studied till Class eleventh, and then spoke about the incident in detail. “Before admitting my father to the hospital, we enquired about the hospital charges and were told that it would be Rs2,000 per day. After four days, we expected the medical bill to be about Rs10,000 and approached the hospital for an estimate. “I was then told that I would have to pay Rs20,000, in addition to the Rs5,250 that I had already paid after admission,” Sudhir said.

“This came as a shock to us, and my father overheard while we were discussing this near his bed. In the evening, he attacked the doctor in a fit of rage,” Sudhir said. The family claimed that they had already spent Rs8,000 on the medicines and 32 saline bottles that were administered to Shivrale.

The unemployed Sudhir, his wife and their college-going daughter live in a 350 sq ft tenement at a chawl in Nanded Phata. Shivrale said the family of four lives off the Rs12,000 pension that he gets for the 12 years he worked as a peon in the Maratha Light Infantry.

“Of this amount, we pay Rs3,500 towards room rent and Rs500 as electricity bill. We manage in the remaining amount. It is very difficult for a family of four to survive in this amount,” he said. The senior citizen refuted the charge by the hospital staff that he was an alcoholic. “I have been consuming alcohol since my Army days, and also because it gives me relief from asthma. But I am not an alcoholic,” he said.

Dr Awari rejected the charge that the hospital was planning to charge Rs25,000 for the old man’s treatment. “There was no question of excess amount. The treatment at the hospital would not have crossed Rs9,000. I voluntarily withdrew my complaint considering his age and out of sense of compassion,” Dr Awari said speaking to Hindustan Times.


First Published: Sep 21, 2017 23:59 IST