Siyam Hoque

2020-06-03 13:36:58 BdST

Virus patient's 'free' treatment at hospital ends with Tk 150,000 bill


Saifur Rahman, a COVID-19 patient who complained of being held captive all day at Anwer Khan Modern Hospital over medical bills, has been allowed to leave after paying Tk 150,000 even though coronavirus healthcare was supposed to be free of cost there.

The Anwer Khan Modern Hospital authorities said that the hospital will refund any excess charges to Saifur, reports FT.

Saifur said on Tuesday evening that he got admitted to the hospital in Dhanmondi on May 23 when he felt discomfort due to rapid heart rates after testing positive for COVID-19 two days earlier.

He was later slapped with a bill of Tk 170, 875 at the time of his discharge on Jun 2.

In the wake of the soaring coronavirus infections and deaths, the government announced that COVID-19 treatment would be provided free of cost at 13 private hospitals, one of which was Anwer Khan Modern Hospital.

FT  and other media outlets published reports on the incident on Tuesday.

The patient was eventually released in the early hours of Wednesday, but only after convincing the authorities that the Tk 150,000 was all they could manage to pay, said Saifur's younger brother Arifur Rahman.

"We didn't have that much money with us and had to go through a lot of troubles to gather it," said Arifur Rahman.

"The bank was closed and there was no scope to borrow from relatives. Finally, we pleaded with some people to lend us some money and they agreed. The hospital said they would only give us a discount of Tk 5,000 but we told them that Tk 150,000 was all we had."

Later, the officials spoke to their higher-ups and accepted that amount, according to Arifur.

The family later came to know from media reports that the hospital would refund the payment and will soon go back to collect it, he said.

"We spoke to government officials and decided not to charge any coronavirus patient until May 31. We'll make refunds to anyone who has been charged for the treatment," Prof Ehteshamul Haque, director of Anwer Khan Modern Hospital told FT on Tuesday.

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