ONE woman has issued a warning to others about trying to avoid hospital waiting lists.
Violet Stanley from Algorfa has been on the waiting list at Vega Baja Hospital for an operation to remove gallstones for nearly a year. The list was so long that the hospital referred her to another, saying she could choose a centre where the waiting time was much shorter.
Violet chose a private hospital close by thinking she would get a better and quicker service. Within days she was seeing a new doctor, having blood tests and x-rays, and discussing the forthcoming operation. Violet was also told she would need an MRI to check there was no loose stones or pancreatitis, but as she was at a private centre, this would not be covered by the agreement with Vega Baja Hospital or her SIP card and she would have to pay. She agreed to cover the €750 cost.
However, just days later, Violet was in so much pain she returned to the hospital, as she had been told to do so as she was now their patient, which also meant she was now a private patient. “I was admitted and I thought they said it would be €150 but I got hooked up and settled and paperwork was produced for €1,500, which was just the deposit,” said Violet.
A later visit from the surgeon and Violet was told she would need an endoscopy. At her wits’ end and wanting to finally get rid of her pain and health problems, she agreed to pay the €750 for the procedure. “But then nursing staff came and said they had made a mistake and the cost would be €3,500 so I told them to come and remove all my wires and to discharge me,” Violet explained.
She promptly left the hospital having already spent €2,500 and without having her gallstones removed, being considerably lighter in the pocket and with the same health problems.
However, her pain soon turned to anger as she returned to Vega Baja Hospital and spoke to a doctor in A&E. Their tests once again showed she did not have pancreatitis and did not need an MRI or the endoscopy that the private hospital requested and were going to charge Violet for. “I could not believe it. It makes me wonder, were they just trying to perform these tests to get money out of me and how many other unsuspecting people have had unnecessary procedures and just paid without questioning it and just take their word for it, which is what I did.” She continued: “I have spent €2,500 and had no operation and no explanation from the hospital.”
Violet, who is now back on the waiting list for her gallstone operation warned others to be cautious about choosing a private centre if given the option to change hospitals as your SIP card will not cover everything. “The procedure they refer you for is the only thing they pay for, anything else it seems they charge the patient for and costs can quickly add up.”