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Woman detained at hospital for unpaid medical bills

Alleged Victim(s)
Jessica Ugwuoke

Alleged Perpetrators(s)
Samaria Hospital, Lagos

Location (Town / State)
Lagos, Lagos

Date of Event
12 Aug 2015

Case category (Choose all that apply)
Medical Assistance
Women's Rights

Case Summary
A private medical facility in Lagos - Samaria Hospital - allegedly detained a woman for more than one month over the woman’s failure to pay her bills.

The Woman lost her unborn child before or during the course of her treatment.

Justice Nigeria hopes to raise some money to pay off the hospital and help set the woman up in business.

Full story
The story, below, has been culled from Sahara Reporters Media (see story in Link, below):
Please note that the hostpital has since denied that Mrs Ugwuoke was chained to an urinal or anywhere for that matter. Our interview with Mrs Ugwuoke also confirmed this denial. We would also like to point out that there is not suggestion that the hospital did anything illegal in their treatment of Mrs Ugwuoke.

The hospital, which is based in the Ikotun Egbe area of Lagos, has detained Jessica Ugwuoke since August 12, 2015, after the woman and her relatives said they could not afford to pay the bill for her Caesarean section (CS).

Mrs. Ugwuoke was transferred from a maternity clinic to Samaria Hospital, which is located on Kudaki Road near Hostel bus stop in Egbe, Lagos State. The patient’s husband, Tochukwu Ugwuoke, was asked to pay N30,000 for blood transfusion into his wife, reported to have lost a lot of blood during labor. The couple’s birth died.

After the loss of her child, Mrs. Ugwuoke has been detained by the hospital for failure to pay the hospital’s bills, which came to N285,000. The detained patient told a correspondent of SaharaReporters that the couple was not informed of the cost of the Caesarean section until after the surgery.

According to her, one Dr. Clem ordered that she be denied a hospital bed and refused her further treatment after her surgery because she and her husband could not pay the amount of the bill.

“The day they discharged me from the bed, Dr. Clem asked me to tell my husband to bring his money even if he [my husband] has to steal,” the woman said. “I have been lying down on the passageway,” Mrs. Ugwuoke added.

SaharaReporters learned that the detained patient’s husband, who is currently unemployed, had pleaded with the hospital to release his wife, promising to seek a loan to pay her hospital expenses, but the hospital declined his request.

Mrs. Ugwuoke, who is chained to a urinal pipe to forestall her escape, described her treatment as dehumanizing. She pleaded with the Lagos State government and human rights organizations to intervene to ensure her release.

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