Fortis Healthcare — callus care and service at your hospital, unscrupulous billing

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Tower A, Unitech Business Park, Block – F, South City 1, Sector – 41, Gurgaon, Haryana, India – 122001

This is my feedback for the services and care that was received by my parents and me at fortis, mulund when they were hospitalized.

Patient id no.513142-jacob george  hospitalized from 20 july 2017
Patient id no.266641-kunjamma george hospitalized from 18 july 2017

Both were admitted to the isolation ward on account of h1n1 infection.
Both are senior citizens living on their pensions and have no medical insurance. So  their entire treatment is paid for by cash.
All these details were provided at the time of admission itself hence i expected a little empathy and discretion towards them at your hospital.

My mother was first hospitalized under the care of dr. Pradeep shah. She has been his patient since 4 years (And has previously been hospitalized thrice at fortis). At first she was kept in a semi private room costing approx rs. 3800/- per day. Dr. Shah's visiting charges at that room was rs.1000/- within a day of being there, as per hospital protocol (So i was told) she was tested for swine flu. Even before the test results came through she was shifted to the isolation ward on 5th floor. Room charges – rs.5500/- per day. Dr. Shah's charges here are rs. 1200/-. Why does the room category decide the doctor's consultation charges?

My father is an alzheimer patient, which was mentioned to your doctors as well as nursing staff. He gets more difficult to manage when my mother takes ill. So here is a scenario, where i, as a single person had to run between the house, managing my father and my hospitalized mother. Since it is an isolation ward, it would be insane to drag relatives and friends to assist me. I had to request doctors, residents, and nurses to provide me with the prevention medication to be able to sit in this ward without catching the illness myself. Even that prescription was obtained after running between the emergency room and chasing after the residents, nurses and doctors on 5th floor. Doesn't the hospital have a protocol to provide this medication to the patient's relative (S) who is attending to the patient themselves? Why are there so many precautionary notes put all over 5th floor if there is no such requirement against this contracting this illness? Why does the patient's caretaker have to run around for a vaccine or preventive medicine? If it is hospital policy to necessarily have a family member even in an isolation ward, doesn't the hospital require a proper system of providing prevention medication to the caretaker? Who owns the responsibility if there is a slip up and the caretaker gets infected?
I know this isn't your concern but the reason i am raising this point is to highlight the importance of having some sort of support staff (Yes even for contagious diseases) provided by the hospital (Surely at a cost, because i know nothing is free at fortis) to assist such families. I had to request nurses and ward boys to keep an eye on my mother for 10 minutes so that i could get a cup of water or tea from the canteen.

Two days later even my father had to be hospitalized for the same illness and add to it his alzheimer's situation which was clearly mentioned to your staff when he was admitted at fortis on the night of 18th july. He is under dr. Benny's treatment since 2014.
This was the nightmare that i was dealing at your hospital. All your staff were sensitized about my father's condition but unfortunately, none could empathise with the situation. No, i am not saying that your staff didn't do their job. But i would like to state that they did just their job. More so because they were short staffed and had to fend for themselves within their working hours their services were more mechanical.

Let me elaborate on this, 5-6 nurses cannot handle a floor with 10-15 odd rooms. 1 ward boy and 1 ward girl are insufficient to cater to the needs of all patients admitted to that particular floor. So there was a situation where my mother (Admitted) in room 519 was helping herself out of the bed to go to the washroom, to find the spittoon, to stay awake till the drip/saline attached to her hand was removed, lest the nurses forget to check on time, because i can safely say that it would take anything between 10-15 minutes after the bell was pressed, for anybody to even check the patient. Since my father could not be left alone even for a minute, my hospitalized 74 year old mother was fending for her own self in your  big fancy hospital facility. They were paying for their ailment through their teeth from their hard-earned pension but yet could not get adequate care and attention. Can you see the irony of what i am stating to you ms. Lal? I sincerely hope you do!!

Now at my father's room (520, thankfully, got the adjacent room) getting a ward boy for his washroom requirements was always a struggle. As a result of which most of the times (Especially on the first two days of him being hospitalized) my father wet himself on the bed itself. Thereafter, the nurse provided a rubber sheet kind of thing to avoid soiling the bed cover. But the waiting time  between pressing the call button and getting the ward boy was always a minimum 10 -15 minute wait. The only saving grace in this whole messed up scenario was a ward boy by the name of ashok (God bless him). He understood my predicament and tried to rush as soon as possible to my father's side. And the best part of his service was he did his job with a lot of patience and a smile, a genuine and concerned smile!! Can you comprehend how heartening it is to see such service at a hospital?

In the midst of all this, i was called atleast thrice or four times by your billing desk to make part payment, to get the bill estimate etc. Inspite of mentioning to all your office and nursing staff about my predicament (Not being able to leave my father alone) i was expected to visit your billing and payment section within their stipulated timings. How can a person do that in this scenario? Even meeting the treating doctor (Since they have no fixed time) was next to impossible. I met my mother's treating doctor on the third day of her hospitalization. That too after rushing to the hospital and tracking him to the icu floor. It becomes humanly impossible for a relative to handle all these issues faced at your hospital whilst caring for the sick person. I hope you are able to understand the depth of my helplessness and frustration.

On the day of my mother's discharge (She had met her doctor alone and her discharge papers was signed without me being able to meet him before discharge. This, inspite of me being in the adjacent room when he arrived for his rounds and the nurses being informed about my availability in my father's room) anyways, i get that at fortis the doctors and nurses and every person are extremely pressed for time and their time is o[censored]tmost importance. Its just the patient who has to accept the step motherly treatment and pay money for it.

Anyways, the bill handed over to me had a number of illogical costs, n95 masks (30 nos) where as my reliever and me would have used maximum 4 during our entire stay at fortis. My mother was given a rubber sheet only on day 1 but we were charged for 4 f them. The doctor had not visited on the discharge day yet i was billed for the same. When i highlighted all these discrepancies to the nurse in charge, the records were cross-checked and rectifications were made. It made me wonder about what if i had not checked the bill? Though the nurse mentioned that it is the patient who pays for the masks used by anyone who enters the patient's room (Including helper staff and food delivery personnel) i found it extremely strange that a private hospital would charge a patient for the masks, gloves and even the daily consumables (Ie, phenoyl, dettol handwash, food containers etc., i am assuming) used to clean the patient's room daily. It is next to impossible to check on the medication and other medical items use during the course of treatment, but i fear how much of truth is there in that billing too. Its not a wonder that the medical profession in our country are losing their respect and credibility. 

The same discrepancies were found in my father's settlement addition to all that there was a sum of rs.200/- for storing my parents medical records, another rs.100/-billed  towards fortis charity fund.  who decides if they a patient wants to give charity? Why does the patient have to pay for storing his records with the hospital? Are you expecting senior citizens paying cash (Out of their pension) to fund your charity without even asking them? How many innocent unaware people are robbed in this manner by your management?  how can a lay person feel safe and assured at your facility when this is like daylight robbery? Imagine the repercussions if such patient experiences get  published on social networking sites. I

I am extremely disgruntled by our experience at fortis, mulund. Maybe i expected better and higher medical ethics in such a highly acclaimed medical facility. Hope this email is received in the right manner and suitable corrective actions are initiated.

Look forward to hearing favourably from you at the earliest.

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