Escaping the Hospital

No tea in bed this morning, for I had food poisoning from dinner the night before. The toilet was my friend for the first half of the day because I didn’t want to venture too far without having a toilet nearby. The tailor was just down the road so I paid him a visit to pick up all the stuff I’d had made. For Rs 265 (US$9.80) I’d had four pairs of shorts made, two sets of boxers and a super nice button down shirt personally tailored for me. Bonus plan buy – I should have had more shirts made while I was at it. From the tailors I went and called the US Consulate and was put directly through to the Consul – Hugh Williams – who gave me a medical reference for an American doctor in Bangalore, the capital city of Karnataka. It was only about two hours away by bus.

It was about two in the afternoon and I was feeling better so I left Kate and went out to the hospital to get Rich out; we were going to Bangalore to a real doctor. I went and told Rich about the reference and he told me he hadn’t been given any medication that day because I’d arrived to late to administer any. At that we left his room and headed downstairs to the main reception to check him out. The nurses saw him out of his room and kept screaming for him to get back in his bed, but Rich just waved them off and told them he was leaving. The doctors wouldn’t give us Rich’s medical records so Rich refused to sign any forms, meaning the hospital would get no money from the insurance company. I went back upstairs and lurked around the nurses station in the corridor trying to figure out which set of charts I’d have to knick so we could get Rich out of the hospital. Couldn’t find anything so we left the hospital sans records and climbed into a rickshaw waiting outside. Just as the rickshaw was about to pull away the hospital security guards came running out and stopped the driver from going anywhere. We went back towards the hospital and one of the doctors met us in the parking lot saying “Take the records.” We went back inside and had a look at the records, but a sonogram Rich had given them when he checked in wasn’t in the file. Rich screamed at them some more and ended up telling one of his nurses to go upstairs and get his sonogram. “I know you can understand me, now go get the rest of my charts.” From the length of time he’d spent with them Rich had figured out how much English the nurses actually understood. The doctors were going “What sonogram?” and Rich said he wouldn’t sign any release forms. “Oh, that sonogram, just a minute.” The sonogram appeared, Rich signed the forms, got his chart and we were outta there. it took us over two and a half hours of screaming, talking, and walking from nurse to nurse to get him out of that place but when you say “I’m not paying” it tends to get their attention. Especially if you’re in one of the expensive air conditioned rooms. Rich’s total hospital bill for 3 and a half days was like US$50 – not even the deductible on the insurance policy, but at least he was out.

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