The medical condition of an 84-year-old gynaecologist from New York, who is admitted at Delhi’s Moolchand Hospital with advanced Alzheimer’s disease since 2017, has deteriorated, the hospital has informed the Delhi High Court and urged it to facilitate payment of her bills of around Rs 52 lakh.
Dr Sundri G Bhagwanani was brought to the hospital in 2017 by her brother, who died during the pendency of his plea seeking to be appointed as the guardian of his ailing sister to take care of her medical bills and overall health.
Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav issued notice to the Delhi government on an application filed by the hospital seeking payment of its dues of Rs 51,97,329 towards the woman’s medical bills, and listed the matter for further hearing in November.
As the patient lost her memory and no relative came forward to take care of her, the high court had last year appointed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the case and also impleaded the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) to examine the woman and suggest remedy.
Bhagwanani is suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s disease which has progressed to a stage where she is unable to take care of herself and requires medical supervision.
In May this year, the high court had appointed the district magistrate of South-East Delhi as limited guardian of the patient and also ordered that a nodal officer be appointed by IHBAS to look after her and to take decisions in tandem with the guardian.
“With respect to the pending bills, the district magistrate is directed to decide as to what is the outstanding amount payable to the hospital and he would be at liberty to direct for release of the admissible amount in favour of respondent no.2- Moolchand Hospital,” it had said while asking the district magistrate to operate the woman’s bank account and release the money required to the hospital for her treatment.
In its application, the hospital said the condition of the patient has deteriorated further and she had to be shifted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The district magistrate was apprised of it on August 28, the hospital has said.
It said the district magistrate was asked to give consent in case the patient has to be put on ventilator and also to clear the hospital dues.
The hospital has also challenged the government’s decision to extend discounted Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) rates to the patient, saying the move is arbitrary and she is not eligible for the facility since she is a US citizen.
“The patient is not eligible for CGHS rates, since CGHS rates are only provided to such persons who are working with CGHS organisation having contract with the Moolchand Hospital. In the present case the patient is a US citizen and the rates applicable for international patients are different, however, the hospital has already accommodated the patient for a lesser amount and it would not be possible for the hospital to reduce the rates to the category of CGHS or EWS,” the hospital has said in the application.