The management of a private hospital in the capital's Gulshan refused to discharge the body of a patient who had died at the hospital Friday afternoon.
The hospital authority has refused to release the body until the full payment of Tk 31 lakh is made, said members of the patient's family.
The deceased, Mohammad Aslam, 58, was admitted to the United Hospital on July 3 with lung infection. Since his admission he had been on life support at the Coronary Care Unit (CCU) of the hospital. He died around 3:00pm on Friday, said family sources.
The hospital did not release his body as of filing this report around 1:00 am today.
Sadia Islam, Aslam's daughter, said when they approached the hospital authority with the request of clearing her father's body, they were handed the Tk 31 lakh bill.
"We wanted to submit a written statement requesting the authority to receive the full payment later but they insisted on paying all dues first," she said.
Aslam was a stock trader by profession. It is way beyond his family's capacity to pay such a large amount of money within such a short while. They had already paid Tk 12 lakh and also spent about Tk 2.5 lakh more to purchase blood during different phases of his treatment.
An official at the hospital's accounts section said the patient's family had been informed about the high expenditure of all the procedures involved with this kind of treatment and they had agreed to bear all the expenses back then.
"We did think of alternative ways to treat him. But his condition fluctuated drastically and at one point his health deteriorated so much that it became impossible to move him," explained Sadia.
Rafiqul Islam, officer-in-charge of Gulshan Police Station, said he sent a team of police to help resolve the matter after he was requested by the deceased's family.
With the involvement of police and journalists, a negotiation meeting was arranged between Aslam's family members and the hospital management yesterday evening.
At the meeting, the family offered to pay Tk 1.50 lakh now and the rest at a later date. Refusing this offer, the hospital management made a counter-offer with a slight discount.
"We've had a discussion with the patient's family. We made it clear we cannot release the body unless we receive the payment," said Sabbir Ahmed, duty manager of the hospital.
Sadia said the hospital authority came up with a slight discount and demanded Tk 15 lakh for the body to be released.
"We are literally incapable of paying such an enormous bill on short notice. We do not want the hospital to count loss for our sake either. We just want them to consider our offer of realising their dues in several phases. We'll definitely go all out to do everything that we can to manage the money," said Sadia.