Healthcare costs

Government to investigate hospital that allegedly charged over Rs 15 lakh to treat child with dengue

Fortis Memorial Research Institute in Gurugram, however, denied any wrongdoing.

The Health Ministry on Monday decided to look into allegations that Fortis Memorial Research Institute in Gurugram swindled the family of a seven-year-old dengue patient. The hospital allegedly charged the girl’s parents more than Rs 15 lakh for 15 days of treatment. The child was declared dead when she was moved to another hospital in Dwarka.

Following a series of tweets from a family friend, Union Health Minister JP Nadda sought details about the matter and said that the government would investigate and take necessary action.

On August 31, Adya Singh was admitted to Fortis Memorial with dengue, and it soon progressed to “dengue shock syndrome”. Adya, the daughter of a Dwarka-based IT professional Jayant Singh, spent nearly 15 days at the Gurugram hospital on ventilator support. They were “charged Rs 18 lakh, including for 2,700 gloves”, the family’s friend posted on Twitter.

The hospital reportedly also charged for more than 600 syringes that were used on her. “They pumped a seven-year-old with an average of 40 syringes a day,” the friend said.

Jayant Singh described the stay at Fortis as “hellish from the beginning”, according to News18. She had been shifted from Rockland Hospital in Dwarka to Fortis based on doctors’ advise after she was diagnosed with Dengue Type IV.

The father said that immediately after they reached the hospital, the girl was heavily sedated. He said that the doctors initially gave Adya an intravenous anti-bacterial drug called Meropenem, which costs around Rs 500 per vial. However, later they opted for a more expensive version of the same drug, which cost Rs 3,100, he said.

He also alleged that there were no doctors to take care of the girl during the weekends, and that the hospital began demanding the bill amount at the end of every day once the parents ran out of insurance. But they were not provided with a daily break-up of the expenses, he said.

On September 14, the doctors told the parents that the girl had 70% to 80% brain damage and would not recover completely. But they still pushed them to opt for a plasma treatment that costs more than Rs 15 lakh, the father said. The family then decided to take the child to another hospital, which eventually declared her dead. He said that he suspected his daughter had already died in Fortis and they were keeping them there only to make more money.

Fortis statement

Fortis denied any wrongdoing and said that the family was informed of Adya’s critical condition and was counselled every day. “On September 14, the family decided to take her away from the hospital against medical advice (LAMA - Leave Against Medical Advice), and she succumbed the same day,” the hospital said.

She had Dengue Shock Syndrome, and had to be put on life support and required intensive monitoring, the hospital said. “Treatment during these 15 days included mechanical ventilation, high frequency ventilation, continuous renal replacement therapy, intravenous antibiotics, inotropes, sedation and analgesia,” the hospital said.

It added: “Care of ventilated patients in ICU requires a high number of consumables as per globally accepted infection control protocols.” All the consumables were transparently reflected in the records and charged as per actuals, it said.

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Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”

“Terrible!!!”

“Like what?”

“Like….”

A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”

“Shameless!”

“Shameful!”

“Ashamed.”

“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:

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This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.