Kolkata: On Thursday, family of a dengue patient paid the hospital bills in coins. The bill had amounted to Rs.40,000.
On Wednesday,BP Poddar Hospital and Research Centre in New Alipore refused to accept notes of Rs.500,1000 for the bill payment. The family of 35 year old Sukanta Chhaule neither had cards or cash in other denominations. The discharge was to occur the following day and the family couldn’t arrange cash worth of Rs.40,000 in denominations except Rs.500,1000. They pleaded neighbours and friends for loose change. The response was overwhelming. They were flooded with coins. By the next morning, they wrapped the coins in packets and handed over to the hospital authorities.
The hospital authorities again posed a problem and refused to accept those huge stacks of coin, thereby seeking a demand draft. When the family threatened to lodge a police complaint, they agreed. However, it took six staff members and three hours to count the coins. Sukanta was released at 3 pm.
Snehashish, the patient’s brother, said: “We had pleaded with the hospital authorities to accept the old notes or a cheque. But they refused. So we thought about collecting the coins, which, we knew would be difficult but not impossible.”
The Chhaules were stunned by the response to their Whatsapp appeal. Coins from even children’s piggy banks were also handed over to them. They stood firm and made the hospital relent as it was the only legitimate currency they could use.
Several other private hospitals however came up with patient friendly gestures by receiving cheques even at discharge. This includes Apollo Gleneagles, Fortis and Medica Superspeciality Hospitals. Many , including Fortis and AMRI, appointed executives to help families make payments.