Dahisar Nursing Home Admits Malaria Patients In Its Kitchen
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25 August 2010
By Sumitra Deb Roy
A gas stove pushed aside on the kitchen countertop that doubles as a makeshift hospital bed and the remaining area utilised to accommodate two more beds: this is the scene at a 10–bed nursing home in Dahisar (E), which is packed to its capacity. Incidentally, staffers insist that the patients pleaded to be treated in their kitchen rather than being sent away. Scenarios like these are common at many of Mumbai’s smaller nursing homes, which are bursting at the seams with patients suffering from a host of seasonal diseases.
S Yadav, one of the patients treated in the kitchen of the Dahisar nursing home, said he was paying Rs 1,100 a day for the "bed". "The doctor has promised to give us a cot as soon as someone is discharged," Yadav said, adding that the charges were exclusive of medicine cost. "I have tested positive for malaria and since it has killed so many people this year, I chose to get admitted here," he said.
The nursing home’s doctor said that he was making arrangements so that every patient could be accommodated and given some treatment. "I have been working for years in this area and share a bond with patients. I cannot turn anyone away," the doctor said. He refused to comment on the bed charges, saying they were reasonable.
At a nursing home in Andheri (E) where Anoop Paul had got his mother admitted for eight days, he ended up paying Rs 1,800 just as bed charges for every single day. "It was a general ward with no TV or AC," said Paul. When he took up the matter with the nursing home, Paul was told that he was lucky to have found a vacant bed.
Incidentally, a five–star hospital in the western suburbs too charges Rs 1,800 for a bed in its general ward. Nursing home owners say a room without TV, AC and independent accommodation should not be charging more than Rs 600–750 per day.
There are several other instances to prove that many nursing homes in the city have hiked their bed charges seeing the deluge of patients this monsoon. A senior doctor–cum–owner of two nursing homes said, "The increase in rates has been sudden and sporadic. The percentage of increase in rates is anything between 5–30%," he said. "But what is wrong in that? It’s simple logic of demand and supply," he said.
Surgeon and legal consultant of the Association of Medical Consultants, Dr Lalit Kapoor said that no nursing home has possibly seen such inflow of patients in the last 30 years. "If nursing homes are increasing their prices without improving their services, then it is unfair," he said.
Dr Manoj Gandhi, secretary of the Bombay Nursing Home Association, said that the body was yet to receive any written complaint from patients. "Instead of seeing it as exploitation, we should consider that nursing homes are accommodating patients somehow," he said.