Twins Seth (left) and Aara. The babies were prematurely delivered at Dubai Hospital days before the mother was scheduled to take a flight to India for delivery. Image Credit: Courtesy: Khawaja Mohideen

Dubai: A hapless father yesterday spoke of his arduous struggle to discharge his four-month-old baby girl from a Dubai-government hospital, as the total medical bills of the family have surpassed a whopping Dh1 million.

Last Wednesday, the father claimed that the hospital was refusing to discharge his baby girl unless he paid Dh500,000 of the total bill of Dh1 million.

The bills piled up as the premature twins were delivered at the government-run Dubai Hospital on November 26, 2011, and were being treated in the neonatal ICU.

When Gulf News contacted the Dubai Health Authority, which runs the hospital, they refused to comment on the situation. However, yesterday the hospital informed the father that he may take his daughter home and that senior officials are studying their case to come up with a possible solution as the family does not have the means to pay the bills, the father said.

Meanwhile, one of the twins — the boy— continues to stay at the hospital as he is not yet healthy enough to be discharged.

Huge medical bills have become a cause of concern for several families ever since government hospitals started charging for emergencies and deliveries a few years back.

"My baby girl Aara and baby boy Seth spent about 128 days at the hospital, from the day they were born. Aara has finally made it home … and we are waiting for Seth. I'm most grateful to God … they are much healthier now," said the father, Khawaja Mohideen, an Indian.

"It's a temporary relief … because the hospital bill is way beyond my means."

"There is no way I can raise half a million," said Mohideen, who runs a web development company.

He also thanked Gulf News for taking up the issue with the authorities.

As reported earlier, the charges at the neonatal ICU are approximately Dh3,800 per baby per day on average, excluding the cost of medicines.

Over the four months, the babies were moved to different levels of care at the neonatal unit, bringing the total bills to over a million, Mohideen said.

"I was issued a discharge sheet by the doctors for Aara to be taken home on March 26, but the hospital administration asked me to deposit at least half of the total bill, Dh500,000, in order to allow the discharge."

Doctors were worried that since Aara has fully recovered, the delay in discharging her might cause her lot of problems, since the neonatal ICU is prone to various infections, as there are new babies coming in every day, Shaista Mohideen, the mother, said.

"The hospital has finally given us some concession, understanding our plight," she added. The family ran into trouble as Shaista did not have medical insurance, since the family was due to travel to India for delivery. But just few days before the scheduled flight, she delivered her babies at 25 weeks' pregnancy.

"We were not even sending our elder son, who is five, to kindergarten since the last academic year because we were planning to travel. Besides we were already facing financial issues, after the business was affected by the economic crisis," she said.

Earlier Dubai Hospital told Gulf News that whenever the patients or relatives notify the hospital of financial constraints, they advise them to approach charitable societies for help.