Continental Hospital asked to refund Rs. 35.43 lakh out of Rs. 48 lakh paid by patient due to deficiency in Covid treatment
B Sunanda Reddy in her complaint said that her husband, B Mruthyunjaya Reddy was admitted to Continental Hospitals at Gachibowli, Nanakramguda on August 13, 2021, for COVID-19 treatment
HYDERABAD: The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Hyderabad has asked Continental Hospitals to refund Rs 35.43 lakh with 12 per cent interest out of Rs 48 lakh paid by Hyderabad patient due to deficiency in Covid treatment.
B Sunanda Reddy, a resident of Nandi Hills, Rayadurgam in her complaint said that her husband, B Mruthyunjaya Reddy was admitted to Continental Hospitals at Gachibowli, Nanakramguda on August 13, 2021, for COVID-19 treatment. At the time of admission, Mruthyunjaya Reddy's health was not very serious. After admission, his health deteriorated allegedly by unnecessary procedures by giving chemicals/medicines worth Rs 15.61 lakh and consumables amounting to a of Rs 27.36 lakh for a period of 36 days.
In spite of the said treatment, Mruthyunjaya Reddy succumbed to death on September 19, 2021. The Continental Hospitals promised the patient's family that it would provide better treatment for Mruthyunjaya Reddy and he would return home hale and hearty. After 15 days of hospitalisation of her husband Sunanda Reddy came to know that the hospital treated Mruthyunjaya Reddy as a case study, thereby giving him different chemicals/medicines though they were not necessary, leading to the death of Mruthyunjaya Reddy.
To the utter shock of Sunanda Reddy, the Continental Hospitals authorities gave an invoice of Rs 64.93 lakh though she opted for Telangana State Government protocol treatment which should not cost more than Rs 4 lakh. Surprisingly, the Continental Hospital authorities gave her a bill of Rs 64.93 lakh, which was excessive as any hospital should not charge for COVID-19 treatment more than the Government norms.
Sunanda Reddy explained her plight to the Continental Hospitals. They reduced the bill to Rs 48 lakh, but they did not hand over the body of Mruthyunjaya Reddy to Sunanda Reddy and insisted on payment of the entire amount of Rs 48 lakh.
Sunanda Reddy brought the issue to the notice of the District Medical and Health Officer, Ranga Reddy district through letters on January 1, 2020, October 10, 2022 and December 21, 2022, and requested to take action against Continental Hospitals for charging of excess amount.
The Continental Hospitals replied to the legal notice on February 5, 2023 and threatened Sunanda Reddy to withdraw the notice issued by her. Saying that they would initiate legal notice against Sunanda Reddy, the Continental Hospitals further stated that the amount charged by them was in tune with the Government’s order and Sunanda Reddy was not entitled to any refund.
The Court ruled that the Continental Hospitals charged against the rules framed by the Government. The final bill raised by the Continental Hospitals after the discount was fixed at Rs 45 lakh and of the total, the Continental Hospitals were entitled Rs 4 lakh as per the GO 248 (dated June 15, 2020), and the hospital was entitled to a deduction of Rs 8.56 lakh paid for nephrology treatment and the balance amount of Rs 35.43 lakh payable to Sunanda Reddy.
The Court in its order mentioned that the amount collected by the Continental Hospitals amounted, not only to a deficiency in service but must be considered as an unfair trade practice. It said that the hospital was liable to refund Rs 35.43 lakh along with 12 percent interest from August 18, 2021. The Court also asked Continental Hospitals to pay Rs 50,000 compensation, Rs 25,000 for punitive damages to the Consumer Legal Aid account and Rs 10,000 costs to Sunanda Reddy.