Right off the bat, the data I provide here are from some real-life cases that I have come across. Being a part of the Calcutta Anti-Covid Belt, I have come across many cases, some of which had happy endings, and some of them did not.
Staying at home, I have managed to lay my hands on several reports which put the cost in the ballpark of ₹60,000. This cost includes consultations, medicines, steroids, tests and a home oxygen concentrator set up.
One incident from Delhi, where a 4-member family was affected, had their costs cut down thanks to the age-old method of “jugaad”. Out of the three consulting doctors they had, one charged ₹1,500 per consultation, the others were family friends. The doctor who charged them, mostly communicated through video conferences for barely 5 minutes, and texts on WhatsApp Messenger, thus leading to a severe lack of communication.
One member had comorbidity, so his case turned serious, but then he eventually recovered. The tests included CT scans and RT-PCR tests, while medication included mostly general medicines and steroids for the serious case.
The first step towards hospitalising someone is the ambulance ride. According to a post made by Shishir Gupta, CEO of StartUpLanes, on LinkedIn, ambulances in Delhi charged exorbitant rates ranging from ₹150 to ₹1500 per kilometre. The situation in Kolkata is no different, as I have unearthed a few cases where ambulances have charged ₹50,000 for less than 5 kilometres. Besides that, there was a case where the ambulance charged ₹5,000 for transportation of a Patient from one hospital to another and an additional cost of ₹10,000 if the doctor went with it and ₹5,000 for oxygen.
The private hospitals are admitting patients only after a deposit of ₹1 lakh. The normal beds in Kolkata cost anywhere between ₹28,000 to ₹35,000 per day during this time with ICU beds ranging between ₹50,000 to ₹60,000 per day. With that, comes the testing and the blood work that have to be done and that costs around ₹20,000 to ₹30,000 per day. Further charges that include service charges, surgically disposable equipment and drugs come up to around ₹15,000 to ₹16,000 per day.
In Delhi, an 80-year old female patient has been in the ICU for a month. The bill to date has come to around ₹25 lakhs. What could be considered hopeful is the fact that the staff and the workers there were super helpful and were downright honest and full of integrity. They jumped in to help her at every moment. Due to the prolonged stay in the ICU, the patient developed an ICU syndrome, wherein the patient would refuse to have her meds and would throw fits of rage upon interaction. The nurses themselves charge around ₹15000-20000 per day.
Also Read: These 2 LinkedIn Posts About COVID-19 Deaths And The Situation Are So Honest, We Should Almost Be Embarrassed
The ballpark for the entire episode, assuming it takes a fortnight to recover, comes to around ₹10 lakhs per person. The Government hospitals in most states are practically free at the behest of the State Government, but the ground reality is truly shocking when I came across cases in West Bengal where the attendants were bribed for removing oxygen from a patient to cater to other patients.
The Final Rituals
The family which suffered two deaths were kind enough to convey their story. Situated in Delhi, the hospitals, irrespective of the class of patients they cater to, had similar costs, ₹10,000 for a normal bed, ₹15,000 for an ICU bed and ₹30,000 for a ventilator bed. In the span of 11 days, 8 with ICU beds and 3 with ventilator ones, the cost came to be around ₹2,10,000.
Besides that, the plasma donations had severe fluctuations in the price, where some donors were asking ₹20,000 to ₹30,000 whereas others were happy to help for free. The Remdesivir price ranged from ₹90,000 from one outlet to ₹1,50,000 from another.
In spite of trying their best, they could not be saved and they had to undergo the final rituals.
The crematorium was a government-regulated one, so the entire ritual cost around ₹5000. The staff was very helpful and at no point in time did the family have to bribe any official whatsoever.
A Final Word
Here, I have explored and verified these stories to the best of my abilities. There are cases where the prices are exorbitant and there is bribery every step of the way, but there are also cases where one does not have to bribe their way through, and through simple humanity, have fought off COVID.
The entire point here is to put down these stories for you to read and understand that no two cases are the same. You might get lucky and save yourself by mere home setups or you might end up dying.
There is, however, one thing I am sure of, and that is India is working very hard to fight the pandemic, and we are all exhausted, emotionally and physically. I hope that we all remain strong through these tough times and emerge into an era of more resilient healthcare infrastructure.
Image Sources: Google Images
Sources: LinkedIn, On ground investigation of real cases
Find the Blogger: Shouvonik Bose
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