GUWAHATI, April 15 - Even as the entire government machinery is struggling to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a section of non-coronavirus patients with economically weak backgrounds has been facing immense hardships in availing proper treatment in the State.
The pathetic situation for the poor non-coronavirus patients entailed after the government converted three medical colleges � namely Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Assam Medical College (AMC) and Silchar Medical College (SMC) � into Covid-19 exclusive hospitals. At the same time, in order to mitigate the hardships faced by financially weaker non-coronavirus patients, the State government on March 29 published a list of 36 Guwahati-based private hospitals for their treatment.
While publishing the list the government stated that beneficiaries of the Atal Amrit Abhiyan (AAA) and the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana will avail free treatment in these hospitals under different departments. The government list also mentioned the departments in which a beneficiary can avail free treatment in a specific hospital.
But lack of awareness among the public about the arrangements and lack of proper assistance from officials concerned have deprived many needy people of the benefits, bringing great risks to their lives.
According to a young girl (she preferred not to be named) of the city whose mother is under treatment at a private hospital, their family has been facing great difficulty in getting the woman treated despite having an AAA card.
The young girl�s 50-year-old mother has been suffering from gallbladder stone and at first they took her to the emergency ward of GMCH after she had complained of severe stomach pain. At GMCH, the doctors asked the family to take her to other private hospitals empanelled under the AAA as the State government had already turned it into an exclusive corona hospital.
�As my mother�s condition was deteriorating rapidly, we immediately took her from GMCH to Nemcare Hospital, which is very close to GMCH. At Nemcare Hospital, the officials concerned informed us that the AAA will cover only the cost of surgery in case of my mother. Still, we admitted her there thinking that her surgery would be carried out soon. But unfortunately her condition worsened within a few hours and she was not in a condition to undergo surgery,� the young girl said.
On Monday, with the cost of the treatment escalating at Nemcare, the family decided to shift the patient to Apollo Hospital where free treatment is available under AAA in the gastroenterology department.
�At Apollo Hospital, the officials concerned made the same statement as was made by Nemcare Hospital and we were informed that they do not have any free ICU facility. Then we decided to shift my mother to Arya Hospital, as we came to know that it charges less ICU fee in comparison to other private hospitals of Guwahati,� the girl said.
Now the patient is suffering from multiple organ disorder and her condition is worsening fast.
Talking on the issue, Dr Hitesh Barua of Nemcare Hospital said, �We are not providing free treatment in the gastroenterology department as per the agreement signed with the government. So we could not provide free treatment to the woman.�
A senior marketing official of Apollo Hospital said they have gone through the agreement and rules of the AAA in case of the patient.
At Arya Hospital, Dr Abhijit Neog said that the patient is not admitted in the hospital under the AAI as they are not empanelled to provide free treatment for certain diseases.