Private hospital charged for drugs which were not used

Dear Editor,

I was recently hospitalized at an East Demerara private hospital for 4½ days. Upon discharge I checked my invoice and found some discrepancies. To the best of my knowledge, I did not receive drugs for which I paid. I raised these queries with the Medical Director whose answers were most unsatisfactory.

I was not delirious, in a coma, unconscious or on sedation at any time. I was in my full senses throughout. I knew full well what was going on around me.

According to the Invoice, I paid for 37–300mg Clendamycin Injections, equivalent to 11,100mg.  I also paid for 12 – 200mg Ciprofloxacin Injections, equivalent to 2,400mg.

I received 600mg Clendamycin Injections twice per day, (every 12 hours), for 4½ days, totalling 5,400mg. I therefore only used about half the Clendamycin.

In an attempt to deny me a refund for 5,700mg unutilized Clendamycin Injections, the Medical Director claimed that I received medication 4 times per day, instead of 2 times, viz, “150mg vial x 4 vials = 600mg x 4 times per day will equal to 16 vials per day.” According to him, I received the entire 11,100mg Clendamycin, plus 2,400mg Cyprofloxacin Injections in 4½ days.

I did not receive any saline, yet I paid for 30 1-litre bags. The Doctor admitted, “I did not prescribe the saline to use as a fluid to hydrate you, it was used as a vehicle by the nurses to administer the medication.”

In any medical institution, do nurses use drugs not prescribed by the Doctor?  And, can the human body absorb 30 bags of saline in 4½ days?

As if to further mystify me, the Director wrote that the 30 bags of Saline were used to mix the Clendamycin since it is a powder and mixing requires the use of a large amount of saline to be able to dilute the medication. Where does this ‘powder stuff’ spring from? It is not mentioned anywhere. According to the Invoice and the Doctor himself, the Clendamycin Injections were in 150mg vials. I understand a vial to be a small vessel holding liquid medicine. The Clendamycin Injections were all in liquid form; there was no powder requiring the use of saline to dilute.  Thus, no saline was required at any time.

I was given one antifungal cream to treat a small sore. I used less than a quarter. (I still have it at home). Why then did I pay for 13? The silly explanation is, that the cream was packed out to give you the other 12 antifungal creams upon discharge, but the staff at the pharmacy did not follow the instruction and gave this to you and only supplied one.”  Why would a Doctor prescribe 12 more creams to take home after discharge when there was no need for any?

Patients are not in the habit of checking their bills since they are too anxious to go home. I suspect that the costs of high quantities of unutilized drugs are being passed on to unsuspecting patients.

Yours faithfully,

Pt R Balbadar

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