Two hospitals in Anambra (names withheld) have detained seven sickle cell anaemia patients over inability to pay high hospital bills.
National Coordinator of People Living with Sickle Cell Disorder(PLSD), Mrs Aisha Edward disclosed this on Thursday during a press briefing in Nanka, Orumba North local government area of Anambra State.
The group condemned the detention, describing it as illegal, inhuman and very wicked of the hospital management.
She said, “People have taken undue advantage of people living with sickle cell anaemia for too long, and we will not tolerate this latest discovery.
“I visited a hospital here in Aguata area to check on one of our members who was on admission there and found out that three of them were being detained against their will because of huge hospital bills they incurred.
“I am surprised that this could be happening in Anambra, and this has made me ask more questions and discovered that another hospital in Onitsha has as much as four of our members who were being detained. These are just the ones we know, and there maybe many of our members who are still being held in other hospitals.”
Mrs Edward said that she was more pained by the fact that the hospitals were mission hospitals.
“We are giving them from now till December 1st to immediately discharge the patients, else we will publish their names and take up a case against them. I am surprised why a trained medical doctor would not discharge a patient after managing him and wait for payment later.
“The church has also been infiltrated by corrupt minded people who now use people’s health condition to defraud other people, and we will not let this happen because the church, not judiciary is the last hope of the common man.”
She revealed that one of the patients (names withheld) who sneaked out her hospital bill to her, was charged N1.2million for her treatment, and had been abandoned by her family.
“The patient told me in confidence that she was told by the management of the hospital that she was being detained in the hope that in December, a known philanthropist who goes from hospital to hospital paying bills of patients would visit the hospital to clear her debt.
“You can imagine the mindset of the so-called mission hospital? It is even possible that they may have inflated the bill, in wait for a philanthropist. So what happens if the philanthropist fails to come? The patient would be held in the hospital forever, is it?”
She contended that the hospital environment was not the best place to stay as the patient may at the end contact more diseases.
She said most of the patients being detained were also orphans.
She lamented that some of the patients have been detained by the hospitals for as much as six months, while the longest serving of them, a girl has been kept in detention for one year and four months, and has been given strict warning not to try escaping as the consequences would be dire.