Gle­nea­gles to pay se­cu­rity guard’s med­i­cal bill

Hospi­tal re­views case and makes of­fer af­ter sug­ges­tion in ST com­men­tary

The Straits Times - - TOPOF THE NEWS - Zhaki Ab­dul­lah

A se­cu­rity guard who col­lapsed while on duty at Gle­nea­gles Hospi­tal last month will have his med­i­cal bill paid for by the pri­vate hospi­tal.

Mr Thomas Lukose, 55, was ini­tially billed $78,000 for treat­ment at Gle­nea­gles Hospi­tal, $13,500 of which was cov­ered by his work in­sur­ance.

In a let­ter to The Straits Times pub­lished on­line yes­ter­day, Mr Phua Tien Beng, act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer for the Sin­ga­pore op­er­a­tions di­vi­sion of Park­way Pan­tai, which Gle­nea­gles is un­der, said Mr Lukose re­ceived timely and ex­pert care from Gle­nea­gles’ doc­tors and staff, and made an ex­cel­lent re­cov­ery.

Re­spond­ing to a com­men­tary on Wed­nes­day by The Straits Times’ se­nior health cor­re­spon­dent Salma Kha­lik, which sug­gested that the hospi­tal con­sider waiv­ing the re­main­der of Mr Lukose’s hospi­tal bill not cov­ered by in­sur­ance and MediShield Life, Mr Phua said: “Hav­ing re­viewed the case, we have de­cided that the hospi­tal should cover his out­stand­ing med­i­cal bill.”

He added: “It is the right thing to do. We re­gret the anx­i­ety caused.”

An ap­peal had orig­i­nally been put up on crowd­fund­ing site Give.Asia to help pay the med­i­cal bill for Mr Lukose.

He suf­fered a heart at­tack on Sept 12 at Gle­nea­gles Hospi­tal while on night duty, and was im­me­di­ately taken to the hospi­tal’s emer­gency de­part­ment.

Though his fam­ily had wanted to trans­fer him to the Na­tional Heart Cen­tre Sin­ga­pore the next day – as his in­sur­ance cov­ered him for only sub­sidised care – at the time, the heart cen­tre had no spare bed in its in­ten­sive care unit.

Ar­range­ments were made for the cen­tre, which of­fered a bed to Mr Lukose on Sept 15, to take over his care.

How­ever, the car­dio­tho­racic sur­geon who treated Mr Lukose, Dr Sri­ram Shankar, said it would have been risky to trans­fer him as he was crit­i­cally ill, and that his treat­ment needed to be ex­pe­dited.

Mr Lukose later re­ceived open­heart surgery, with three coro­nary artery by­pass grafts, at Gle­nea­gles Hospi­tal.

Dr Shankar did not charge for his ser­vices.

The crowd­fund­ing ap­peal raised more than $24,000 as of yes­ter­day morn­ing.

Mr Phua said in his let­ter that Mr Lukose and his fam­ily have ac­cepted the hospi­tal’s of­fer to pay his out­stand­ing med­i­cal bill.

In a com­ment on the Give.Asia page – which is no longer ac­cept­ing do­na­tions – Mr Lukose’s brother Daniel ac­knowl­edged that Gle­nea­gles Hospi­tal chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Lee Shen Ming had in­formed the fam­ily of the of­fer, and thanked donors for their gen­eros­ity.

As for all the do­na­tions re­ceived, “we wi ll be do­nat­ing to the next per­son in need, and we will be up­dat­ing on this site”, he said.

“Once again, thank you very much for com­ing for­ward to help, and we are truly blessed and thank­ful to each and ev­ery one of you.”

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