A grateful mother in Dubai told how she shed tears of joy after a benevolent businessman stepped in to pay her Dh57,000 hospital bill for the care of her twins born prematurely.
Monica Pentio Tubo, 25, who works as a nanny, said she and her husband, a cleaner at a salon, were unable to clear the dues at NMC Royal Hospital.
Ms Pentio Tubo said she was only able to bring her children home from NMC Royal Hospital last week when she handed her passport over to the hospital as a guarantee that she would not leave the country without paying the debt.
Although the children are now in good health, the new mother quickly used up her annual health insurance allowance of Dh150,000 during the number of weeks of care they received.
Hasan Fardan Al Fardan, chief executive of Al Fardan Exchange, made the donation after finding out about the couple's situation through a story in The National this week.
Ms Pentio Tubo has been overwhelmed by the support from the public.
"We are over the moon. I couldn't believe it when I found out the bill had been paid," she said.
"My husband and I were crying tears of joy when we found out.
"It is amazing that people were able to help us. We didn't expect it at all."
She said other members of the community had also helped the couple by donating groceries and clothing.
Mr Al Fardan said he was delighted to have the opportunity to help a family in need.
"The most enlightening experience is that of giving back to the communities we serve and kindness is a language that the Al Fardan family understands," he said.
"As a family and a business, we feel the sense of responsibility for constructive involvement in our diverse communities within the UAE. Most importantly, we are happy to know that Monica and her newborns are safe and healthy."
Ms Pentio Tubo, who earns Dh1,500 a month, would make a daily trip from her home in Bur Dubai to the hospital, on the other side of the city, to see her daughters, Adori Emanuela and Amori Nathaniela, while they underwent treatment.
The National contacted NMC Health, who said Ms Pentio Tubo was allowed to take her children home after she made a guarantee to pay the outstanding amount.
The bill would have been higher but for a Dh20,000 discount offered by the hospital.
Under rules governing donations, members of the public can help the couple pay off the bill, as long as payments are directly made to the hospital.
Fund-raising, particularly on social media, without an agreement with an official charity is against the law.
Hospital says family were made aware of cost of treatment
"Being portrayed as trying to make money out of somebody’s misery is a challenge in healthcare you always face," a spokesman for NMC Royal Hospital said.
“[The potential costs] were explained to her and her husband well in advance and they gave their written consent before we admitted them.
“Now the kids are healthy and ready to be discharged, she has said she doesn’t have the money.
“We were not [refusing to release the children] but somebody had to give a guarantee.
“She was fully told how much it would cost and when the children would be able to be released.”
He said Ms Pentio Tubo suggested the idea of handing over her passport, until she paid off the debt, which the hospital accepted because they had no other form of guarantee from her.