A young mother and her newborn baby have been detained by a Lagos hospital four months after giving birth due to her inability to pay the bills.
A 21-year-old lady, Blessing Agbo who gave birth to a baby boy through caesarean section in a private hospital in Lagos State, four months ago, is still being detained by the facility over her inability to pay the N215,000 bill she was charged.
According to Punch Newspaper, when the young mother and her live-in lover, Chibogu Duru, could not pay the money, the hospital, God Cures Hospital, located in Ilogbo, Ojo area of the state, refused to let her and the baby leave and they have been at the medical facility since then.
It was also gathered that the baby’s father had since already abandoned both mother and child at the medical facility.
Duru, a 27-year-old man who spoke with Punch on the telephone, said he abandoned the mother of his baby and the child because he could not raise the bill charged by the hospital for the operation.
He said he had no means of raising the funds having lost his job as a truck driver and efforts to get management of the hospital to understand his situation had been abortive which led to his abandoning mother and child.
“Sometime in June, my lover went into labour while I was on a business trip in Calabar, Cross River State.
I was also called that she had developed complications and had been rushed from where she had her ante-natal care to the private hospital.
The hospital called me that they needed N245,000 for an operation and I begged them to reduce the charge, but they said it was not negotiable.
I asked them to go ahead and that I would look for the money when I returned. They did the operation and it was successful. I paid a deposit of N30,000.
Shortly afterward, I lost my job because there was nobody to assist me in taking care of my baby. I was the one running around for both mother and child and I could not go to work.
I begged one of their doctors to be patient with me because I had lost my job, but he refused.
I called the hospital’s Managing Director and asked him to involve the police in knowing my address because I would not run away with their money. He also refused," Duru explained.
Duru, an indigene of Imo State, added that he had to stop going to the hospital to visit mother and child after getting threats from the management over the bill.
He also alleged that sometime in September, he was detained by the hospital while on a visit.
“They locked me up and said I must produce their money. I was embarrassed. Because of that experience, anytime I want to go there, I become scared.
At a point, they threatened me that they would sell my baby over the bill. None of my relatives go there again because they have threatened them. I don’t know what to do. I never knew she would need a surgery to give birth.”
However, when contacted, the hospital management denied the allegations, saying it never threatened to sell the baby to raise money for the bill.
The Administrative Manager of the hospital, Busayo Olorunnisola who spoke on their behalf, said Agbo was admitted and delivered of the baby on compassionate grounds because no deposit was made before the surgery.
“We have been looking for the father of the baby. We have been feeding the woman for the past three months. He was not in Lagos when she was brought in.
He was called on the telephone that the girl needed urgent surgery and he gave his consent, promising to pay as soon as he returned.
He didn’t return until after six days when he paid N15,000 and left. Two weeks later, he returned and promised to pay the balance. He paid an additional N15,000.
After a fight with the girl at the hospital on September 11, he came and signed an undertaking not to abandon her again.
The girl had held him for abandoning her at the hospital and they were brought to my office where he promised never to abandon her again.
Since then, he has stopped coming and the girl has been relying on the generosity of the hospital, nurses and other members of staff.
Due to compassion. the She said the hospital decided to forgo the N1,500 daily utility fee Agbo should have been charged for the time she spent at the hospital. We are only demanding the balance of the surgery bill.
The problem we have in this neighbourhood is that everybody thinks once you come in for treatment at our hospital, we leave you without charges, even after undergoing surgeries, and it is something we want to stop.
It’s becoming a norm. The same scenario keeps recurring and after a while, we usually let them go,” Olorunnisola added.
Also speaking on her plight, the Benue State-born Agbo said Duru had yet to pay her bride price, which made her parents to abandon her.
“We are not married yet because he has not paid my bride price. I was living with my sister when we started dating before he impregnated me.
When I asked him to see my parents and pay the bride price, he promised to do it in December. I have been begging people for food at the hospital because he is also not bringing any food for me.
I am begging Nigerians to please come to my aid and that of my baby so that we can be discharged," she cried out.
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