By Evelyn Usman
A nursing mother, Mrs Ochuko Chucks and her two- week- old baby are presently being detained at Graceville Medical Centre, on Godmon street, Okota, over inability to pay N60,000 balance of the delivery bill.
Vanguard gathered that the stranded woman had registered with one of Christian outreaches birth centres in Jakande estate, Oke-Afa, where she had her previous deliveries.
After taking in again, she was, however, rushed to Graveville on December 26, 2018, where doctors hurriedly carried out a Caesarean section, CS, on her, after experiencing contractions for days without sign of the baby coming out.
Information at Vanguard’s disposal revealed that the nursing mother and her husband were running a fruit business at Mechanic bus/stop, Jakande estate, which was booming until their shop was demolished in 2014, during the construction of the road, thereby forcing them to open a provision store in front of their house.
Again, they were compelled to close the provision store owing to poor patronage. Thereafter, they went to Ago area of the state to continue with the fruit business which folded up like the provision store, due to its location and low patronage.
When Vanguard visited the hospital, Mrs Chucks, who managed to beam a smile in her gloomy looks, expressed gratitude to God that she and her baby were alive.
In an emotional laden tone, she said: “I really love to return home with my baby but I can’t because we still have balance of N60,000 to pay the hospital which has been magnanimous enough to carry out the CS, with a deposit of N50,000, out of N200,000.
“Today, out of the N250,000 charged for all the treatment, we have N60,000 to balance. Some friends and relatives who heard that we were financially stranded, gave us money in bits that made up for the N190,000 payment so far. I am using this opportunity to appeal to good spirited Nigerians to assist me clear the bill so that I can return home with my baby.”
When Vanguard met with the Medical Director, Dr. Akintunde Seun, he explained that “she was rushed here as an emergency case, having been in labour for three days. Hers was a case of an obstructed labour and the baby was already in distress and his heartbeat was dropping. We had to operate on her immediately that night.
“Because of her age and the fact that she already has three children, we counselled her and her husband on family planning and the need for tuber ligation, which in common term, means to tie the tube. The husband agreed that we should just go ahead, that he was more interested in his wife and baby’s safety.
“As God would have it, the operation was successful. By the time the baby came out, we had to resuscitate him by fixing oxygen, until he picked up and the mother was very much okay.
“The bill for the CS is N200,000, while that for tying the tube is N30,000. Since then, they have been paying in bits. By the time the baby was seven days old, the man said he would want us to circumcise him which we did and the cost is N10,000.”
Vanguard gathered that drugs and other necessities which the hospital incurred, summed up the bill to N260,000.
Father of the baby, Mr Chuks, as gathered, approached Dr. Seun weekend, appealing that his wife and baby be allowed to go home, with a promise to pay the balance in bits until it is complete. The family had hoped to pay the balance with money that would be given to the child by visitors.
On why he turned down the appeal, Dr. Seun said, “the last time the husband came, he said we should allow his wife and baby to go home. But after the discussion, he changed his mind, saying they should rather remain until payment is completed.