AJMAN // A pregnant woman who needed a Caesarean delivery was refused by two hospitals because she could not pay.
Tunisian I M was rejected by Al Qasimi, the government hospital in Sharjah, and then GMC Hospital in Ajman, before being accepted at Al Qasimi when a doctor was told she had been turned away twice.
The 26-year-old’s husband, F M, a camera maintenance and installation engineer, claimed he was in legal limbo because of a dispute with his employer over leaving for a new job, complicating fee payment.
At 3pm on January 21, I M went to Al Qasimi Hospital where a paediatrician refused to accept her because she was not a patient there, said F M. Pregnancies are usually arranged with hospitals to obtain the necessary registration documents.
“We went to Al Qasimi and the doctor said normal deliveries took place there, while Caesareans were carried out in another hospital because she did not have a file at Al Qasimi. So I signed her out and we went to GMC in Ajman,” said FM, 33. “The consultant doctor of my wife knows about my job problems and she told me that if I couldn’t get money from the Red Crescent she could dispense with her fee and I would just pay the hospital’s fee, which she said will be between Dh5,000 to 6,000.”
The consultant has a clinic but delivered babies at GMC.
“After being told my wife couldn’t deliver at Al Qasimi, I called my wife’s doctor. She said the amount was Dh7,000 [to have a delivery at GMC].”
The Tunisian then took his wife to GMC but while en route the consultant stopped taking his calls.
F M said he could get the Dh7,000 from friends but not the Dh10,000 he was told it would cost at GMC.
“The receptionist told me I had an hour to pay the money and they were in contact with the consultant doctor, who said: ‘If they don’t have the amount, let them go to another hospital’,” F M said.
After 90 minutes, in which he failed to get the money, staff asked them to leave. The couple then went back to Al Qasimi. The couple’s daughter was born at 7.30pm on January 22.
I M said the drama surrounding the birth was more painful than the procedure itself.
“I had a terrible feeling when my water broke and I had severe pain and felt lonely without my family, just with my husband,” she said. “And then they kick us out because of money? I am not going to escape. I will get them the money, but at least [one of the hospitals] should have let me deliver the baby.”
F M said that he could not start his new job until a police case against him was dropped.
His previous employer claimed he fled after he tried to move to a rival company.
Dr Essa Atta, director of public relations and medical affairs at GMC hospital, said that I M’s consultant doctor was not a member of their staff and that the decision on whether to allow entry to a patient was at a doctor’s discretion.
“Because she didn’t have money, the doctor told the receptionist to tell them to go to a government hospital as her case was not an emergency,” he said.
She said GMC Hospital, a private hospital, accepted all emergency cases transferred from other hospitals, even if the patients have no money.
Al Qasimi Hospital would not comment.
Source: uae news