A family is now seeking answers after a private hospital slapped them with a $1.3M bill it said was racked up in just over a week by an elderly relative.
The family now wants an independent medical review, with questions being raised about the medical procedures and competency of the doctors involved.
The family has reportedly written to the city hospital informing the management of impending actions and making it clear that it wants to prevent other persons from suffering the same.
This latest complaint would come amid revelations and claims by several patients of private hospitals who said they were charged and sent for tests they believe were not needed.
The spotlight has also raised the possibilities of tax evasion by private doctors and a scheme to scam patients, many of whom have to borrow from families and their work place to pay for treatments.
According to the sent correspondence seen by reporters of Kaieteur News, the woman in this case is a sister of businessman, Samuel Barakat.
He said that his sister was discharged after 10 days– eight of which she spent in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
At the end of the 10 days, Barakat said, doctors went ahead and conducted a battery of tests, all without the family’s permission.
At the end of it, the hospital released the woman, 64, saying all they found was a slight trace of pneumonia.
“The doctor tell us about, kidney, cancer, gall bladder, heart condition, test after test, lab work etc. informally without any scheduled consultation,” Barakat said in his letter of complaint to the private hospital.
“We were required to pay several times for continuous treatment we don’t know prior what it was and what are the results and further plans. The only time we know is what on the paid bill.”
Barakat claimed in the letter that two Saturdays ago, his sister who was kept in the hospital overnight for observation after feeling some pains, was in good health.
“She was supposed to do an endoscopy (Stomach examination) last Sunday. (She) didn’t do it until this Friday. No reasons (given). Several requests as to the delay; no response (given). It’s difficult to see the doctors and no request was made to see us. The only information we can garner was the bill we were required pay several times during the 10 days.”
Barakat said that he and his family are questioning the medical procedures and the competency of the doctor.
“We are requesting an independent medical review in the interest of the institution’s reputation and protection of other people to be exposed to the same unprofessional arrangement with your medical team.”
The businessman said his family had no choice…they paid the bill.
He said that he respects the hospital and had tried to contact a number of senior officials, including a close friend.
“We have paid the bill. I mean no harm to this outstanding institution… just want to protect others from mercenary and predatory medical staff and in absence of any review to paying patients at hospital.
“People want value for their money and must know what they are paying for and how much in advance, with respectable consultation before and after billing,” he said in the letter.
He said that there appears to be an attitude where staffers seem to be capitalizing on people’s emotions- “pay first, then we might talk to you. She was well since last Saturday morning…we fed her three meals every day.”
There have been a growing number of accusations that at least two private hospitals have been boosting its revenues by forcing unsuspecting patients to take caesarian operations (c-sections) for births.
The difference between natural and c-sections is $50,000 and $300,000 respectively.
There were other accusations of patients being sent to do all kinds of tests seemingly unrelated.
One woman has engaged a lawyer and has sent a legal letter asking for explanations after her children’s pediatrician, who had been looking after them for years, suddenly found that they had developed scoliosis (curved spine).
He suddenly found this out in a few minutes after visually examining the children.
The tests which cost thousands of dollars for the children came back negative. The traumatised woman contacted her lawyer.
Kaieteur News will continue to examine the rising number of complaints about the allegations. If you know of similar cases or have a story to tell about experiences at the private hospitals, please contact us at [email protected] or call on 225-8491.
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Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]