As if having a traumatic experience trying to find a hospital willing to admit them and having twins born 14 weeks prematurely wasn’t enough, an Indian couple in Dubai face hospital costs totalling Dh850,000 after their newborns spent seven months in NICU.
Valerian Dias’ wife Delma went into labour at 26 weeks and their frightening experience began when doctors at a private hospital told them that she needed to have surgery immediately and it would cost Dh500,000.
They had health insurance but were not confident that all costs would be covered so, assuming that it would be cheaper at a government hospital, they went to one in Dubai.
“When we went to the government hospital in Dubai, we were told there were no beds and to go to another hospital,” said Mr Dias, 44, an engineer.
The couple then went to another private hospital but it wanted a Dh100,000 deposit to admit Delma, who works in finance for a cargo company.
“We couldn’t afford that so we were told to go to yet another hospital in Ajman,” said Mr Dias, whose wife was going through labour pains throughout.
“When we arrived in Ajman and after they did all the tests, they told us that they didn’t have the facilities to care for the babies and we had to leave.”
By then, Delma was in excruciating pain and began bleeding heavily.
They were near a bank and it was during Ramadan, so “the women in the bank took her in and made her lie down. She couldn’t move from the pain and so they called for an ambulance to take her back to the government hospital in Dubai”.
The ambulance came and picked her up but dropped her off in the middle of the street a few minutes later. “They told us that they had no jurisdiction to enter Dubai and they could only drop us off at the border,” Mr Dias said.
He had their car so he drove back to Dubai and pleaded with the first hospital, which claimed it had no beds to admit his wife. “I was in tears. I begged them to take her in,” Mr Dias said.
After making them wait for hours, the hospital finally admitted Mrs Dias and operated on her. A baby boy and girl were born on the June 17, 2015, both weighing less than 1kg. Tragically, after they had spent seven months in NICU, the girl died and only the boy, Aldin, survived.
“My daughter was not doing well and passed in December 2015. I named her Abigail,” said Mr Dias, who with his wife has one other child, a daughter, Delisha, 9.
Aldin was discharged on January 30, 2016 with an oxygen tank. “He required continuous follow-up and, for a year, seasonal injections that cost us about Dh1,800,” said the father.
At the time of Aldin’s discharge, Mr Dias had a bill of Dh1.34 million. After their insurance company paid some of the amount and he took out a loan of Dh100,000 , Mr Dias now owes the hospital Dh850,000.
“We have been to many charities and asked everyone for help but they have refused to take up our case,” he said.
Mr Dias had to give the hospital a blank cheque and his Emirates ID to discharge his son.
“The amount is exorbitant but we had no choice. We tried to go to a cheaper hospital but no one would take my wife in and she needed to be operated on immediately because the baby’s lives were in danger,” he said.
Hisham Al Zahrani, manager of Zakat and Social Services at Dar Al Ber Society, said: “The family are grateful that their son has survived and Aldin is now alive and healthy but they have suffered a lot. They need Dh850,000 so they can move on with their lives and put the agony of the past two years behind them.”