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 firstname.lastname@example.org