In this week's issue

Baby needs Dh6,000 daily to stay alive

Debt-striken parents face year of uncertainty even as they plead for help

  • By Jay B. Hilotin 
Chief Reporter
  • Published: 23:29 January 2, 2013
  • XPRESS

  • Image Credit: XPRESS/Pankaj Sharma
  • Brave Parents: Catalin Tataruseanu with wife Cosmina, 27, parents of Maria, right, who was born on October 10 in Mediclinic Welcare Hospital with a congenital breathing problem
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DUBAI Debt-laden parents of a sick baby girl stuck in a hospital ICU since her birth in October due to congenital problems say the mounting bills are way beyond their capacity to pay.

The medical bills – about Dh6,000 per day since October 10 last year– are making it extremely tough for the parents of Maria to make ends meet. Both of Maria’s parents work as sales staff at a mall, with each earning Dh5,550 a month.

“We’re happy that we had Maria, who came to us after two years of marriage,” said the father, Catalin Tataruseanu, 30, from Romania. “We don’t know how many years it will take to pay off her hospital bill … it might take a lifetime. We will appreciate any help we can get.”

When Maria was born at 2.88kg on October 10 at the privately-owned Mediclinic Welcare Hospital, doctors detected a rare breathing condition (her immature trachea obstructs the airway).

Her mother, Cosmina Folosea, 27, was wheeled into the delivery room at 36 weeks, and Maria was born following a C-section procedure. The mother had no maternity insurance. Doctors hooked up Maria to a breathing machine the day she was delivered and a tube is still being used to feed her.

Tataruseanu said he had maxed out his credit cards and borrowed from family and friends to pay initial hospital bills of Dh132,456, but that only covered the period from October 10 to 31.

Since then, medical bills kept piling up. Subsequent bills from November 2 to December 16 reached Dh176,000.

“This is beyond our ability to pay,” said Tataruseanu.

In the last 60 days Maria has been home for only three days – and those days were partly spent attached to a home oxygen and saturation monitor.

Doctors said the resolution of her health problems could take six months to one year.

In a statement, hospital director Sakkie van der Vyver said: “Due to the specialist nature of the treatment and the high quality of medical equipment involved, treatment costs are high, and we appreciate the difficulties the Tataruseanus face in covering these costs without adequate medical insurance protection.

“Our main concern is the health of the baby, and we’re doing our best to assist the family with their financial situation by offering a 15 per cent discount on the total cost of treatment as well as the opportunity to pay the final bill in instalments.”

Maria’s mother said the treatment wouldn’t cost them as much if they moved her to their home city Brasov, where they said hospitalisation for children under 14 is free. But that would mean moving the child using a private jet fitted with medical equipment – and given that the Dubai bills are settled first.

 

If you wish to help the family, write to editor@xpress4me.com

 

Comments (11)

Your comment
  1. Added 11:59 January 3, 2013

    Editor's note: Thank you for your help. You can directly contact Catalin Tataruseanu, father of baby Maria, at 056-113 6223.

    Editor, XPRESS, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 11:54 January 3, 2013

    Sometimes I think having no cure for something is better than being able to provide the cure at such a high price that people can't afford. It's part of the whole healthcare system, not in the UAE alone, but globally. The hospital's management say the best they can do is a 15 per cent discount? That is almost ridiculous, and they should be ashamed! The least they can do besides giving that lame discount is create a fund for that family in distress. I wish XPRESS or anyone who knows the parents post the contact details of the parents or any known channel where we can donate. Might not be much, but I'm assuming anything would be helpful in that kind of situation.

    Mohamed, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 10:18 January 3, 2013

    Why can't Dubai Hospitals offer free treatment? We need so many things -- healthcard, insurance etc, etc. However, I really don't have a money-making tree....

    ABC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 09:27 January 3, 2013

    While the educated public would surely wish to pitch in with financial assistance, the amounts involved are staggering and my heart goes out to the couple. In my humble opinion, this is a rare and genuine case that requires higher authorities to step in. It's not fair to test the public's morals and expect them to shell out close to Dh200,000, which is just enough to cover the present bills, especially when the treatment is ongoing and might very well end up in the half million range or so. Will the public please use their contacts to bring this situation to the attention of a Government charity?

    S Mehta, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 09:25 January 3, 2013

    Being the number 1 newspaper in the UAE, I'm sure if each and every reader of Gukf News in the UAE donated just Dh5 to Dh10 for the cause, we might help pay off the debt and save that poor innocent's life. The money would be sufficient to pay off her future bills until her immune system develops and she can be then taken off the ventilator to lead a normal life.

    Sam, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 09:01 January 3, 2013

    I think the hospital should subsidise this huge bill rather than give only 15 per cent discount.The ethics of the medical field should be followed here by giving priority to the patient's life rather than making profits.

    samer, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 08:58 January 3, 2013

    I'm a reader of this article and I plead to the healthcare authorities form the bottom of my heart that please offer the entire treatment free of cost, as the poor parents can't afford due to financial reasons. The baby by all means deserves to survive, and I believe the health authorities can do this. I raise my concern for this little one who has not even realised her parents love for her as they are desparate to keep her alive. Regards Prabeer Mozumdar

    prabeer, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 08:45 January 3, 2013

    May God bless the child and the parents. It's very sad to know the situation of the child who is suffering from breathing problem. There are many wealthy people in this country, if you are reading this news, kindly please try to help this child and the family by contributing some money. We all spend lots of money on our leisure. Just spend something from your pocket thinking that you had spend this for your own family or friends. Please try to put yourself in this situation, who knows, what is going to happen tomorrow with us. Fear the Almighty. Let us also pray together for the child. May God bless the child so that she recovers soon from this illness. May God bless the child with a healthy life ahead. Ameen

    Mohamed Farzook, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 05:53 January 3, 2013

    Money isn't everything in this world. Fifteen per cent discount is almost like giving no discount at all. Let the hospital pay 15 per cent and help save the kid's life. Or send the kid in a private jet. There are hundreds of private jets. Else raise a committee where we all can contribute and help the child. I am sure there are millions like us who would love to help. Even we we pay Dh10 each it would round up to Dh10 million in less than a week.

    syed, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 02:22 January 3, 2013

    May God bless this innocent baby. Hope the wealthy people out there will extend their help to save her life.

    Abdul Hamid, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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