Hospital bill mounts for uninsured man

An Indian man has run up Dh600,000 in medical bills for six months of hospital treatment after he suffered a brain haemorrhage while between jobs.

Shariq Alvi is in Lifeline Hospital in Abu Dhabi after suffering a brain haemorrhage while between jobs. Lee Hoagland / The National
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ABU DHABI // An Indian man has run up Dh600,000 in medical bills for six months of hospital treatment after he suffered a brain haemorrhage while between jobs.

On March 12 this year, Shariq Alvi, 26, was found unconscious on the bathroom floor by his mother.

He was taken to Lifeline Hospital where doctors found a blood vessel in his brain had ruptured because of high blood pressure.

Unfortunately for Shariq, he had just resigned from a job in a bank so he could move to a higher-paid position with another company.

This meant he had no medical insurance at the time he fell ill.

During the past six months in hospital Shariq’s condition has been improving gradually.

His parents say the medical bill has come to Dh600,000, which they just cannot afford, as Shariq was their main breadwinner.

But hospital management denies suggestions that it has demanded the fees, and says it is time for Shariq to go home to his family.

“Shariq has been with us since the past six months and we are taking care of him as our family member,” said Dr Lalu Chacko, medical director of the hospital.

“We never asked them to pay the bill. We just want them to take their child home and take care of him.”

Mahboob Alvi, Shariq’s father, said: “Shariq’s former colleagues have co-operated with us a lot. They collected about Dh22,000 to support us but this is not enough.

“We need to pay about Dh600,000 to the hospital.”

Mr Alvi Sr showed a bill dated May 22 this year, stating that Dh321,790 was owed to the hospital.

“We know the final bill will be double this amount,” he said.

He said that since Shariq became ill, they have had to sell his wife’s and daughter’s gold jewellery just to survive.

“My eldest daughter and her husband also took out a loan to take care of our expenses, but the struggle seems to be unending,” Mr Alvi said.

The management at Lifeline Hospital said they had been providing a high level of care to the patient.

“We have done all that is necessary and still continue to do so. He is, in fact, our longest ever in-patient at the hospital,” said Dr Chacko.

“Now he is medically fit to go home. He needs family affection and comfort for recovery.”

Dr Chacko believed Shariq would be able to live a normal life again but it would take time.

“But he cannot stay anymore in the hospital,” he said.

“The more he stays the more he will be in danger of different kinds of infections. His immune system is very low because of his illness.

“We are very sensitive and responsible about each of our patients, regardless of their financial status.”

If anyone can help the Shariq family, they can be contacted on email at abid981@rediffmail.com.

akhaishgi@thenational.ae