By Paul Olayemi
Two women, Esther Osiebe,35, and Shola Adewuyi, 22, have spent over five months in a private hospital in Sapele, Delta State, over their inability to offset their medical bills after undergoing successful operations.
It was gathered that the management of the hospital located in the New Road area of Sapele, decided to detain both women since December 2016 as they could not settle the balance of their treatment fees.
Currently, they are both kept in an abandoned apartment with no electricity and under lock and key by the management of the hospital.
When Vanguard visited the hospital, one of the women, Shola, disclosed that she was returning to Sapele from Lagos when the bus they boarded had a head-on collision with another vehicle in Benin on December 13, 2016.
She said: “Several lives were lost. I was lucky to be alive. I was first taken to Providence Clinic in Benin, where I spent a night. The next day I was brought here, where they have been treating me.
“So far, my mother has been able to raise and pay N150,000 out of the N317,000 bill, leaving a balance of N167,000.”
On her part, Esther, an Okada accident victim, said: “I was returning from church when a hit-and-run driver rammed into our motorcycle on September 4, 2016.
“I have spent my little savings running into hundreds of thousands of naira.”
Mrs Osiebe also said her legs were operated on in December 2016, and the hospital gave her a bill of N628,280 and that is what is keeping her.
Meanwhile the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr E. U. Sagay, said the women were detained because it had become a regular habit of patients failing to settle their bills after treatment, only to abscond.
He said: “We do not run charity home at the clinic. If we continue to run this place like that, with every patient coming and going without paying bills and coupled with the escalating cost of drugs, it will be very difficult for us to stay in business.”
When Vanguard confronted him on why the patients were kept in such conditions, he said: “I kept them there to put pressure on the family.
“If they are comfortable, they won’t bother to look for money.”
He, however, appealed to their families to raise the money to offset the patients’ bills.