COIMBATORE: Covid-19 not only took the life of 41-year-old auto driver Kadhar Meeran, but also left his family stuck in debt, thanks to medical bills of Rs 14.5 lakh. The family from Pollachi, which has lost its breadwinner, has exhausted its savings of Rs 2.5 lakh, sold Kadhar’s auto for Rs 2 lakh, and is now trying to sell their house to repay their loans.
Kadhar tested positive for Covid-19 on May 9, and his family tried to get him admitted to the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital, but the institute had no available beds with oxygen support. After a desperate search, his wife and son found him an oxygen bed at a private hospital in Neelambur, Coimbatore, where he was admitted from May 13 till he passed away on June 4.
The total cost of treatment was about Rs 14.5 lakh. As per the district administration’s tariff, the per-day charge for an oxygen bed is Rs 18,500, and for an ICU bed is Rs 36,500. “After we spent our savings, we received some donations, but were eventually forced to borrow money. We’ll now have to pay it back with interest,” said Kadhar’s son K Salman, a final-year undergraduate student in Pollachi. The family now has a mounting debt of about `9 lakh.
Speaking about Kadhar, his friend Musthafa said, “He bought a house after working for three decades. But in just 26 days, things changed drastically.”