Saudi hospital holds body for ransom over unpaid bills
The 59-year-old woman had been kept in the hospital’s morgue since March 6 until health officials recently stepped in to resolve the dispute
A private Saudi hospital in south Jeddah has finally released the body of a dead woman to her family after two weeks but not before a protracted battle over outstanding medical costs of more than SR517,000, Makkah Arabic daily reported on Monday.
The 59-year-old woman had been kept in the hospital’s morgue since March 6 until health officials recently stepped in to resolve the dispute.
The family said she had remained under treatment in hospital for about 52 days during which the medical bills were being paid on time by philanthropists and charity organizations, which collected about SR58,700.
The family said when they came to receive the body, the hospital asked them to pay the entire amount. Her son said: “The charity organizations stepped in again and paid much of the amount.
The remaining amount is only SR180,000.” According to the medical report, the woman was admitted to hospital while unconscious through the emergency ward.
She was diagnosed with cancer in the rectum and low blood pressure. The report said the woman died when her heart failed, liver stopped functioning and her blood pressure went down.
A spokesman of Jeddah Health Affair said the hospital refused to hand over the body because her son refused to sign affidavits that the money would be paid.
He said the department was able to convince the son to sign the required papers and subsequently the hospital released the body.
The spokesman said the medical bill was high because the woman had spent about 23 days in intensive care.