Hospital holds baby hostage pending settlement of bills

By Saqr Al-Amri, Arab News Staff
Publication Date: 
Sun, 2002-12-29 03:00

JEDDAH, 29 December 2002 — A private hospital in Jeddah has been accused of holding a newborn baby hostage as its Turkish parents failed to pay SR181,000 in medical bills.

The hospital authorities also reportedly refused to hand over the dead body of the triplet brother of the newborn for the same reason, though the parents’ sponsor stood guarantee to settle the bills.

Wajeeh Suleiman, father of the triplets, said the body of the baby who died 15 days after his admission to the hospital has been preserved in the hospital’s mortuary for the past 39 days.

The hospital authorities denied the charge. They said no dead body is kept in the hospital on account of unpaid bills.

However, some workers at the hospital, who did not want to be named, confirmed the presence of a baby’s dead body in the mortuary for over a month pending settlement of bills.

The mother gave birth to the triplets at another hospital after a Caesarean surgery about 55 days ago.

One of the babies died shortly after birth. The other two were admitted to a private hospital with advanced facilities for the care of the babies as both were in a critical state and had difficulty in breathing. The second baby died there after 15 days.

The bill for the treatment of baby who died later ran into SR77,000 while the surviving baby’s bills totaled SR104,000. The baby is now in good health though hospital authorities refuse to send him with the parents.

The medical report issued by the hospital showed that the babies were admitted to the hospital 10 hours after birth due to the malfunctioning of their lungs.

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