First, it was the on-going renovation at KEM Hospital which pushed behind his heart surgery by three months. Now, a change in government policy is threatening to derail the procedure altogether. After spending seven anxious months, Umashankar Bharti is left with no option but to wait for divine intervention.
The 43-year-old was twice refused by KEM for a scheduled bypass surgery because of repair work at their cardiovascular-thoracic operation theatre. But he was left disheartened after he was told that money could not be sanctioned to him under the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayee Arogya Yojana (RGJAY) as his ration card is not a year old.
Waiting outside dean’s office at KEM, Bharti said, “I have been suffering from cardiac problems and facing severe breathlessness. Earlier my surgery was scheduled in August 2013 for which I got sanction of Rs1,50,000 under the Jeevandai scheme, which the government replaced with RGJAY in November 2013.”
The Nallasopara resident said by the time his turn for the surgery came, the new government health scheme had been implemented. “I got admitted to KEM on December 17 but since RGJAY didn’t sanction the money, I was discharged after ten days without getting operated,” said Bharti.
When Bharti approached RGJAY officials, the daily wage earner was told that he was not eligible to avail benefits under the scheme as he had got his ration card only after April 1, 2013. Bharti says his case was not considered despite him being a holder of Aadhar card.
Dr NB Agarwal, head of cardio-thoracic and vascular surgery department of KEM hospital, said, “Bentall surgery is a high-risk surgery. We are trying to get a solution for the funds required for his operation. We have also directed him to social workers for the same.”
According to doctors, Bentall procedure is a type of operation usually done in open heart surgeries that concerns the aorta, the largest artery of the heart. The surgery can involve replacing some defective parts of the aorta, such as the valve or the upper part called the ascending aorta, with a graft.
Dr Shubhangi Parker, dean of KEM hospital said, “Some rules are different when compared in both the schemes. We have taken a note of Bharti’s case and are taking help of donors to ensure that he is operated at the earliest.”
Seeking divine intervention
Umashankar Bharti, who is awaiting Bentall surgery, was twice refused by KEM for a scheduled bypass surgery because of repair work at their cardiovascular-thoracic operation theatre. But he was left disheartened after he was told that money could not be sanctioned to him under the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayee Arogya Yojana as his ration card is not a year old. He is now running from pillar to post.