Dengue patient family pays BP Poddar Hospital Rs40,000 as coins in Kolkata
KOLKATA,Nov11: Desperate times require desperate measures. On Thursday, the family of a 35year-old dengue patient paid back a city private hospital in their own coins, literally.On Wednesday , BP Poddar Hospital and Research Centre in New Alipore told Sukanta Chhaule’s relatives to arrange Rs 40,000 for his discharge the next day . It set off panic at the Chhaules’ Dasnagar home for they neither had cards nor enough cash in denominations other than Rs 500 and Rs 1000.They pleaded with the hospital to accept the old notes, but were refused. Their offer of a cheque was also turned down. The Chhaules then sent frantic messages over WhatsApp groups to friends, relatives and neighbours for loose change.The response was overwhelming. They were flooded with coins. By 3 am, they had collected the bill amount of Rs 40,000.On Thursday morning, they wrapped the coins in cellophane packets and bundled these inside a big jute bag and arrived at the hospital gate.
The stunned hospital authorities initially refused to accept the coins and asked for a demand draft. They relented when the family threatened to lodge a police complaint. Now, it was the hospital’s turn to count the coins. It took six staff members three hours to do the job.Sukanta was released at 3 pm. Snehashish, the patient’s brother, said: “We had pleaded with the hospital authorities to accept the old notes or a cheque. But they refused. So we thought about collecting the coins, which, we knew would be difficult but not impossible.”
The Chhaules were bowled over by the response to their WhatsApp appeal. “While many gave us all the coins they had at home, others handed us their children’s piggy banks.We kept receiving the coins till midnight,” said Tapas Ray , his brother-in-law. A dozen relatives and neighbours then pitched in to count the money till 3am.