HealthHuman Rights

Anambra Sickle cell patient detained over N1.2m hospital bill dies

A sickle cell patient, Miss Onyinye Ezeanyika detained in a mission hospital in Onitsha, Anambra State for being unable to pay N1.2m hospital bill has reportedly died.

Our correspondent gathered that Onyinye died in the early hours of Monday.

A source in the hospital said, “Onyinye was detained for one year and six months by the hospital management after she and her family were unable to pay the sum of N1.2m billed her.

Speaking, the national coordinator of People Living With Sickle Cell Disorder, Aisha Edward, said “Onyinye died at the hospital where she was held hostage by the management.”

She added, “I had given her some money before for part payment of the bill and even advised her to escape from the hospital.

“But when the hospital found out she had visited me, they threatened her and instilled fear in her.

“She told me that the hospital intended to keep her until Christmas, when philanthropists would come to redeem the bills of indigent patients in the hospital. So you can see the motive behind her being detained by the hospital.”

Edward said she was pained by the fact that the hospital involved was a mission hospital.

She said sickle cell patients were being used by hospitals to make money by charging them exorbitantly with the hope that philanthropists and other organisations would come to redeem the bills.

She said, “I called her yesterday(Sunday) so that she could join us at Onitsha where an NGO donated food items and various gifts to us but she told me she was in pain and could not come.

“I brought some foodstuff which I hoped to share among those members who could not make it to Onitsha, but to my greatest surprise this morning I received a call that she had died.

“Now that she is dead, I urge the hospital to sell her corpse and offset the bill she left behind,” Edward stated.

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