Gleneagles Hospital to pay medical bill for security guard who suffered heart attack

Security guard Thomas Lukose collapsed while on duty at Gleneagles Hospital. The hospital has said it will cover the rest of his medical bill.
Security guard Thomas Lukose collapsed while on duty at Gleneagles Hospital. The hospital has said it will cover the rest of his medical bill.PHOTO: GIVE.ASIA

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

An appeal had been set up on crowdfunding site Give.Asia to help pay the medical bill for the guard, 55-year-old Thomas Lukose. He suffered a heart attack on Sept 12 at Gleneagles Hospital while on night duty and was immediately taken to the emergency department.

His family wanted to transfer him to the National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS) the next day, as his insurance only covered for subsidised care. But the heart centre had no spare bed in its intensive care unit.

Though a bed opened up at the NHCS on Sept 15, cardiothoracic surgeon Sriram Shankar, who treated Mr Lukose, said it would have been risky to transfer him as he was critically ill, and that treatment needed to be expedited.

Dr Shankar performed open-heart surgery, with three coronary artery bypass grafts, at Gleneagles Hospital on Sept 16.

While he did not charge for his services, Mr Lukose was billed $78,000 by the hospital, $13,500 of which was covered by his work insurance.

The crowdfunding appeal raised more than $24,000 as of Friday morning (Oct 13).

In a letter to The Straits Times published on Friday, Mr Phua Tien Beng - the 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 bills."

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

He said Mr Lukose and his family have accepted the offer and have "very generously diverted the money raised through crowdfunding to the next person in need".

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 Lee Shen Ming had informed them of the offer, and thanked donors for their generosity.

"For all the donations received, we'll be donating to the next person in need, and we'll be updating on this site for future donations," he said.

"Once again, thank you very much for coming forward to help, and we're truly blessed and thankful to each and everyone of you."