Nursing home in Kandivali refuses to hand womans’s body over bill payment in cash

MUMBAI,Dec18: A nursing home in Kandivli allegedly refused to hand over the body of a 72-year-old woman to her family till the bill was paid in cash. The family finally signed a blank cheque as the body and the documents for cremation were held up for nearly nine hours.

The family of Kamladevi Singh, who was critical after suffering from a hematoma (blood clot) of the frontal lobe and hemiplagia (paralysis), passed away around 12.30am Sunday. They alleged that the 10-bed Life Care Hospital and ICU in Kandivli (east), where she had been admitted 24 hours earlier for palliative care, drew up a bill of Rs 37,000.

Singh’s nephew Rakesh said the hospital refused to accept online or card payment. The family had paid Rs 10,000 at the time of admission. After she passed away, the hospital prepared the final bill and insisted they pay the remaining Rs 27,000 in cash. “We kept on pleading with them that arranging so much cash in the middle of the night would not be easy, but they said they could only accept cash payment,” said Rakesh, who runs a mobile phone business. Just after demonetisation, the state had passed a directive making it mandatory for hospitals to accept cheque, card and online payments.

An altercation ensued between the family and the hospital staffers, when one of the relatives posted the ordeal on the social media. The hospital started receiving queries as a few political parties were tagged in the post.
Rakesh said the hospital agreed to release the body around 5.30am, but insisted on cash payment to hand over the documents. “But without the death certificate we could not go ahead with the cremation. Finally, around 9.30am, when they were flooded with calls from several places, the papers were handed over to us,” he said.

 Rakesh said the family had still not managed to collect so much cash. “I gave them a blank cheque and asked the hospital to charge us justly,” he said.
 The hospital has refuted the allegations and said they did not hold up the body. “The family did not want to take the body home at night, so we released it in the morning,” a spokesperson said. He added, “We have a cash-only policy which was explained to the relatives at the time of admission. How can we accept cheque payments, what if it bounces?”
Earlier, Singh was admitted for around 18 days in a Mira Road facility, where the doctors were contemplating a surgery. “But they found her condition to be inoperable and asked us to shift her to a public hospital or a smaller facility for palliative care,” said Rakesh. After the family could not find a bed at the BMC-run BYL Nair Hospital, they admitted her to Life Care on Friday.