Patients detained at Obafemi Awolowo Teaching Hospital over unpaid bills

No fewer than 10 patients of the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife (OAUTH) in Osun State have allegedly been detained for their inability to pay their medical bills. While about five of them, all women, have been released after paying their bills by instalment, another five are alleged to be currently languishing at the gate of the Wesley Guild Hospital in Ilesa, an annex of the OAUTH, where they are being allegedly detained.

The women, who had undergone Caesarean Section before they were delivered of their babies and surgical operations for miscarriage, had not, it was alleged, been allowed to leave the hospital for over one month for owing the hospital between N42,000 and N57, 000.

The patients, who spoke with our correspondent at the Wesley Guild Hospital in Ilesa, said they were unable to pay the hospital bills because their spouses are indigent.

Sidikat Musa (26) with the card number 271691 is a hairdresser while her husband is a dry cleaner.

According to the patient, her husband had managed to pay N55, 000 out of N97, 000 which the hospital charged them for delivering her of her baby through a Cesarean Section,  leaving the balance of N42,000 to be paid by her husband before she could be allowed to go home and join her family.

Unlike the four others our correspondent spoke with, Sidikat was lucky to have a baby boy after the operation. Another patient Anifat Tajudeen (29), with card number 271833 is a tailor and her husband is a farmer. She said she had been discharged since June 6 but said the management of the hospital refused to allow her go home because she could not pay the balance of N43, 000 of her medical bill, adding that the hospital management had been kind enough to write off 50 per cent of the cost of the treatment for Caesarean Section. Anifat, unfortunately, lost her child. A tailoring apprentice, Barakat Awolaju (19) with card number 416129, said she had been detained by the hospital since May 18  after her boyfriend, a welder, ran away because he was unable to pay N57,000 which was the balance of her medical bill of N114, 000 despite the hospital writing of N57, 000 because of complications occasioned by miscarriage.

Also, a 20-year-old hairdresser apprentice, Rachael Ayoku with card number 271324 underwent surgical operation for miscarriage but could not go home since she was discharged on May 12. Rachael’s boyfriend, who is a tiler, has been unable to pay the balance of N43, 000 out of the N86,000 medical bill which the hospital had subsidised by 50 per cent.

A tailor apprentice, Blessing Ogundipe (24), whose boyfriend is unemployed also could not offset the balance of N46, 000 out of N112, 000 after the hospital had subsidised the cost by 50 per cent. According to her, she had been detained since she was discharged on June 21.

Reacting, the Public Relations Officer for the OAUTH, Kemi Fasoto, said only the Chief Medical Director could make comment on any issue concerning the hospital.

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