Minting money in times of pandemic!

By: Maqbool Ahmad      Published: 01:33 AM, 13 Jun, 2020
Minting money in times of pandemic!
–File photo

As the pandemic spirals out of control in the country, private hospitals are trying to make the maximum out of the prevailing situation.

Medical bills of a coronavirus patient, who was charged exorbitant fees by a private hospital in Karachi during his 10-day treatment, have gone viral on the social media.

Per the medical bills of the patient shared on Twitter by singer and actor Fakhr-e-Alam, the patient has been charged irrationally and mercilessly by a well-known and major hospital in Karachi.

As Fakhar shared images of the medical bills on Twitter, he wrote that he understands the business, but what the hospital in question has done is not fair. He wrote on Twitter, “This is a single patient bill for 10 days. The family shared it so that we should see what’s going on. It baffles me how 1800 latex gloves & PPE suits are charged to a single patient for ten days & the price per unit is ridiculous. I understand the business but this is unfair.”

According to the medical bills handed over to the patient by the management of Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, a few days ago, the total amount due towards the patient was Rs1,756,129.

This practice is not limited to Karachi alone. Private hospitals are charging a lot more than what they are supposed to charge for coronavirus treatment in many parts of the country. Taking action on a news report, the Sindh Healthcare Commission warned hospitals of repercussions if they are caught overcharging the poor patients.

In Lahore, the rent for a hospital room is between Rs40,000 and Rs50,000 per day and in Karachi it is from Rs30,000 to Rs100,000 per day. In Islamabad, several hospitals are taking advanced payment of Rs200,000 to Rs1 million for admission of a coronavirus patient. The prices of oxygen cylinders have also shot up.

Sindh government’s spokesperson Murtaza Wahab says the Sindh Healthcare Commission is an independent body. Sindh Labour Minister Saeed Ghani says the government can’t stop people willing and able to pay from going to private hospitals.