A MOTHER, Mrs. Esther Akinola and her baby are currently stranded at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, over inability to settle a N306,200 bill. Esther, 31, a fashion designer, who gave birth through Cesarean Section, told Vanguard that her baby was premature and had to be placed in an incubator for two months after birth. “This is my first child and I’m happy I am okay. The baby is also doing fine. I was discharged on 22nd March 2018, and my baby was discharged on 22nd April, 2018, but we are still here because we have no money to settle the bill. “We were given two bills. My baby’s bill of about N150,000 was settled by a Good Samaritan. Mine is pending. Actually I have not paid anything out of it.” According to Esther who is currently in Ward C2 of the Labour Unit, she was referred from Igando General Hospital to LUTH on 12th March, 2018. “I was taken into the theatre and safely delivered through CS on 13th of March 2018. We did not pay any deposit before the surgery, but paid for tests and other expenses incurred.” Esther said she and her husband decided to seek public assistance to raise money to offset the bill because family members have abandoned them and they are on their own. “Besides our Pastor and some close friends, few kind hearted people have been chipping in something. Abiodun, Esther’s husband confirmed they were presented a total bill of N306,200 after his wife’s discharge. Giving a breakdown, he observed that the bill is made up of admission fee of N20,000; operation fee – N65,000; bed bill – N142,000; pharmacy (drugs), N61,000 and blood bank – N18,200. “We are not contesting the bill, in fact they tried for us, but because we are currently broke we cannot pay. It has been quite a difficult period for us.” Abiodun said he had earlier expended over N200,000 on tests and other expenses at Igando and LUTH. “We contacted the hospital’s social society service but they said we should try to pay half of the sum before they can do something. ” He lamented that the nationwide health workers’strike added to their woes because it paralysed services at LUTH and they were unable to reach out to the authorities for further negotiation. “I am appealing to kind hearted Nigerians to help offset this bill so that we can go back home.” R0eacting to the development, Public Relations Officer, LUTH, Mr Kelechi Otuneme said although the hospital management was initially unaware of their plight, it has, however, stepped in.
“They are yet to officially approach or notify the management about the issue but they have been advised to source for funds to settle the pharmacy fees and also settle the blood bank charges and then approach the mangement for negotiation over the balance. “We have collected all the unused drugs they purchased and given discount so that they are only paying for what they have used. “They do not have to pay for the blood if they can get someone to donate to replace what was used, however they need to exhaust all avenues available for patients that are owing the hospital.”