Private hospitals fleecing poor mothers-to-be

Private hospitals fleecing poor mothers-to-be
Highlights

In an annoying development, pregnant women who depend upon private hospitals for delivery often turn ‘cash cows’ for the hospital managements.

C-section deliveries are on an alarming rise in the region, though normal deliveries are quite possible

Karimnagar: In an annoying development, pregnant women who depend upon private hospitals for delivery often turn ‘cash cows’ for the hospital managements. City-based private hospitals seem to regard them as walking ATMs that make cash registers at the hospitals ringing all through the year. Though the State government has made it clear that no C-section should be conducted unless it is absolutely necessary, private hospitals interpret the rule as something not applicable to them.

Conducting a delivery for the hospitals would mean an opportunity to earn mega bucks. In fact, 90 per cent of the deliveries were conducted through C-section during April-October period this year, according to sources. There is no wonder in the region’s medical business turnover crossing Rs 4,000-crore mark annually.

Gullible mothers-to-be and new mothers say it is atrocious for the private hospitals to throw the rules to the wind out of greed for money. Women, visiting the private hospitals are never encouraged to undergo normal delivery to promote Cesarean Sections among them. Of the 6,807 deliveries conducted during the period, 5,500 were conducted through the Cesarean route, which constitute 90 per cent of the total deliveries.

As the District Medical and Health Department officials have not kept a watchful eye on the the private hospitals, the doctors at these facilities are conducting C-section surgeries unhindered by collecting fat medical bills from the expectant mothers. While the total number of C-sections performed in government hospitals were put at 1,364, in private sector hospitals the number of deliveries conducted through this method were put at 4,079.

Out of the 4,500 deliveries conducted in private hospitals this year, 436 were through normal delivery, according to sources. In spite of modernising government hospitals and promoting institutional deliveries, the number of patients patronising private hospitals is on the rise constantly. The private hospitals are encouraging only C-sections collecting at least Rs 30,000 per patient. The government has embarked on a campaign on Suraksha Yojana Scheme to promote institutional deliveries, but the whole exercise seems to have no effect at all, it is alleged.

The situation would not change for better unless the government intervenes. Collecting money from patients even in government hospitals according to the whims and fancies of medical officers and their irregular attendance has become the matter of controversy, of late. The District Collector inspected the Health Department Activities and taking on-the-spot decisions. Going by the fact that the District Collector was aghast at the conditions in government hospitals, one can guess how miserable the situation on government hospitals is.

Karimnagar achieved the dubious distinction of performing the highest number of Cesarean Section surgeries in the State. Will the government protect the interests of expectant mothers or succumb to pressure tactics being played by private hospital managements is question puzzling many. According to a government medical officer Rajesam, it is true that the number of Cesarean Section deliveries are being conducted in Karimnagar.

He offered to conduct an inquiry and take suitable action against the hospitals violating the government rules. A women’s group leader Sobha Rani said while private hospitals overseas strive to encourage women to undergo normal deliveries, here deliveries are being conducted through the C-section in spite of scope for normal delivery. She threatened to stage a demonstration in front of the DM&HO if the practice was not immediately stopped.

A resident of the city Pydipalli Raju expressed the concern over private hospitals adopting the C-section route for the lure and lucre of money. The medical officers are extorting money in the name of diagnostic tests and scanning reports. Hitherto such practices were overlooked and it was high-time the government woke up from the deep slumber and took the remedial measures, he said.

By Ch Gopalakrishna

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