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My Mom, Widow of Freedom Fighter, Ill-Treated Before Death at Hosp

‘They did everything for money, despite Delhi Government’s assurance for bill payment.’

My Report
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It’s very difficult to witness a loved one’s death under any circumstance. I tried for my mother to get the best kind of medical facilities in Delhi, but the ‘best’ turned out to be the worst for her.

In October, my mother Suraiya Begum, who was the wife of freedom fighter Inayat Ali Shah, started falling ill. Off late, she wasn’t eating well and was also complaining of breathing issues.

Inayat Ali Shah with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru 
(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

We admitted our 87-year-old mother to Fortis Escorts Heart Institute at Okhla Road in Delhi on 29 October. Since she was a spouse of a freedom fighter, her medical bills were paid by the Delhi government’s Freedom Fighter Cell.

We informed the hospital this at the time of her admission. The hospital asked us to make cash payments. We made an initial payment of Rs 1.2 lakh within two days of her being on a ventilator.

‘Escorts Wasn’t Cooperative’

I told the hospital repeatedly that there is no issue with the payment. Whatever the final bill, the Delhi government would bear the cost. Since the hospital was not under the cashless facility of the Delhi government’s Freedom Fighter cell, officials were ready to give an undertaking regarding the payment to the hospital.

In fact, I made the official of the government talk to the hospital, but the hospital was not willing to listen and understand.

Every day, we used to get calls from the finance department of the hospital to make payments.

On 7 November, the security at the gate stopped me, they didn’t allow me to see my mother and asked me to visit the security office. At the office, I was asked to make payments else I won’t be allowed inside. An argument broke out.

Two hours later, I got a call from the hospital and they said, “Your patient is very serious and she is sinking. Please come and see her.”

Surraiya Begum breathed her last on 7 November.
Photo accessed by The Quint

As I reached, I saw that the ventilator had been removed off her body. My mother breathed her last as I entered the room.


Fortis Escorts Response To The Quint

The hospital’s response is produced herewith:

“Ms Suraiya Begum, age 84, was admitted to Fortis Escorts Heart Institute on 29 October 2020 under the critical care team. At the time of admission, the attendant of the patient did not disclose that patient is wife of a freedom fighter and no document was presented for any such medical entitlements. The attendants submitted an undertaking to pay the bill by cash at the time of admission.

We would like to further clarify that as per ICU protocols, the attendants were allowed meet the patients within permissible visiting hours. After six days of admission, on 4 November, the family presented a document issued by GNCT dated 3 November 2020. On presentation of the said document, the family was assured to provide payment facility as per GNCT guidelines.

Despite efforts of our doctors, we lost Ms Suraiya Begum on 7 November. We would like to state that the patient was treated as per standard medical protocol and no harassment/misbehavior was done by any of the hospital staff at any point of time.”


Delhi Government’s Freedom Fighter Cell To The Quint

Speaking to The Quint, the cell informed that it did offer to make the cashless payments to the hospital, but the hospital didn’t have the facility. So, the family had to make all the payments which will be reimbursed by the Delhi government.

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