Hospital shuns Sanwo-Olu’s directive, detains mother over delivery bill

A woman identified as Elizabeth Davis, who lost her baby just after delivering prematurely at the Ajeromi General Hospital in the Ajegunle Area of Lagos State, has been detained by the management over her inability to settle her medical bill of N323,000.

This is despite the state’s directive to all general hospitals and primary health centres to provide free antenatal care and child delivery services, including normal and cesarean sections, to expectant women who are residents of the state.

The government explained that the initiative was part of relief measures to cushion the hardship faced by residents due to the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government.

Sanwo-Olu stated during a media interview in February 2024, “There is an arrangement for free delivery, including cesarean sections, at government hospitals,” adding that his administration “will also give a rebate on some particular drugs at our state government hospitals.”

However, this does not seem to be the case at Ajeromi General Hospital, where the infant’s remains and the mother are being held due to the family’s inability to clear about N323,000 in medical bills.

PUNCH Metro reports that both Davis and her child’s remains were still detained by the hospital management on Monday and Tuesday, owing to her husband’s failure to settle the medical bills.

In an interview with PUNCH Metro on Monday, Davis said, “I have been here since February 29, 2024. I gave birth in the hospital. It was premature. They put her in an incubator. They have been treating her since then. But I don’t know what happened when they suddenly told me on March 2, 2024, that she was having a fever.

“They came out straight to tell me that my baby wasn’t feeling fine and all. On March 3, they told me that my baby was very sick. I was even surprised, and I was asking them what went wrong. So, by 3am, my baby had given up.

“So, since then, they have detained me. They said I have to pay over N353,000 before they can let me go. They didn’t allow us to take the remains of the child away for some days. But today (Monday, March 25, 2024), they called my husband to come and take the child.”

While seeking public intervention, Davis’s husband, Michael Bassey, said the hospital also denied him the right to take the corpse of the infant several weeks after she died inside the incubator because of the N323,000 medical bills.

“My wife gave birth when her pregnancy was only seven months old. The child was taken into an incubator for weeks. Then, last Friday, we lost the baby. After we lost the baby, the hospital told me that before I could take the corpse, I should get a clearance of N323,000.

“So, I had to give them the only N50,000 that was on me. They said if I didn’t pay the money, they would not allow me to bury my daughter. And they still detained my wife at the hospital. But just this afternoon (Monday, March 25, 2024), they called me to come take my daughter’s corpse,” Bassey said.

When contacted for a reaction, the state Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, stated that he would investigate the matter.

“Okay, I will investigate,” the commissioner simply stated after requesting the details of the hospital and the patient’s name via WhatsApp messages from our correspondent on Monday.

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