Mumbai (The Hindu): Following the widespread outrage over the death of a newborn when a private hospital refused to accept payment in discontinued currency, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday issued strict instructions to all private hospitals to accept cheques from patients for emergency treatment.
The government has also said patients and their relatives can call toll-free hotline 108 for help if they face any difficulty or non-cooperation from hospitals.
In a series of tweets on Sunday, Mr. Fadnavis clarified that all private hospitals must accept cheques, and assured citizens that health officials are keeping a close watch on the situation round-the-clock across the State to ensure people are not inconvenienced. “Patients or relatives are requested to note phone/mobile no. of concerned person of hospital who must be contacted for acceptance of cheque,” he tweeted.
The Shivaji Nagar police on Saturday registered an FIR against Dr. Sheetal Kamath, associated with Jeevan Jyot Hospital and Nursing Home in Govandi, for allegedly refusing to admit the newborn because his parents could offer had only demonetised Rs. 500 notes. Police said the baby’s father, Jagdish Sharma, had registered the complaint on Friday against Dr. Kamath.
Mr. Sharma’s wife Kiran had delivered prematurely at home on November 9, and had been rushed to Jeevan Jyot Hospital, where she was given primary care. However, Dr. Kamath allegedly refused to admit Kiran and the baby because they didn’t have lower denomination notes to pay the deposit of Rs. 6,000. The desperate couple rushed to a hospital in Chembur, but their baby died.
The Central government has stipulated that hospitals, both private and government-run, accept demonetised currency. State Health Minister Dr. Deepak Sawant had issued a notification asking private hospitals to accept old notes till midnight of November 11.
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