Early last year, the case of then six-year-old Vaishali Yadav had swept national headlines, after the little girl wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about her debilitating heart condition. A reaction from the Prime Minister’s Office’s (PMO) had prompted Pune’s Ruby Hall Clinic hospital to promise a free surgery for the child — but, a year down the line, not all is going as smoothly as expected in the aftermath.On Monday afternoon, high drama took place at the same city hospital, after Vaishali’s father Monish and his younger brother Pratapsingh held a press conference to announce that Ruby Hall Clinic has reneged on its assurance to sponsor Vaishali’s followup treatment and education.
This was based on the public promise made by Grant Medical Foundation managing trustee Dr Purvez Grant, who had soon after last year’s surgery on Vaishali declared that his hospital would be providing further treatment to her, as well as supporting all of the girl’s education-related expenses up to the university level.
Soon after Monday’s angry outburst, however, the Yadav family issued a statement later in the day, submitting a written letter of apology to the hospital management that stated they had misunderstood the circumstances.
It all began when Vaishali started complaining of chest pain over the last five days. The family then approached a hospital near their home in Hadapsar, where doctors suggested that she consult the same doctor who had conducted her open heart surgery last year for the best follow-up.
Pratap shared, “We took Vaishali to Ruby Call Clinic around 11 am on October 12 and met social worker Poonam Chouhan. We were told that the doctor concerned is not on the premises, so we waited for two hours. Later, the staff said he was not expected anytime soon and gave us Dr Shrinivas Kini’s number.”
Added Monish, “On October 13, I called Dr Kini, who told us to come to the hospital at 10.30 am. Chouhan was not there when we went, so we met one Nilofar, another social worker associated with Ruby Hall Clinic, who told us to go to Dr Kini’s out-patient department (OPD).”
The family claims this OPD staff asked for Rs 800 as consulting charges. “I thought this must be a misunderstanding, and told them about Vaishali’s back story. The staff was not convinced and said they had no instructions about any such patient. They insisted on the fee. When we tried to contact Dr Grant, we were told he is in a meeting,” Pratap said.
The Yadavs said they were shocked by this, as the hospital’s trustee had assured otherwise publicly. They added that even availing of an initial Rs 3,000 for Vaishali’s education expenses had proved to be tedious in 2016, prompting several visits to the hospital. While they got this sum, they later gave up on the idea of doing the same in 2017.
But, speaking to Mirror on Monday, Dr Grant said, “The family went to a private doctor, who can charge a consulting fee as per our rules. The family has apologised to us since in writing. Ruby Hall Clinic has always been supportive to the Yadavs. I have personally followed up about this patient, and they should have met me to avoid this misunderstanding. The family’s financial condition has made us provide monetary support to them — why would we ask for consulting charges in such a case?”
The subsequent apology letter signed by Monish stated, “Ruby Hall Clinic has always been good to us and not charged us for my daughter’s treatment. It was our mistake that we went to a private doctor. I should have gone to Dr Grant, who has obliged us on many an occasion. I even have receipts for the same and no case against Ruby Hall Clinic.”