In September 2015, Erinma Laurette Chamberlin, 36, went to Wockhardt Hospital, India, to deliver her fifth child through Caesarean Section. But due to her husband’s inability to clear the medical bill, Erinma and her baby have been allegedly confined to the 11th floor of the hospital for the last five months.
Her husband, Chamberlin Chiemela Ezeama, who is in Nigeria, has issued a legal notice to the Wockhardt Hospital alleging illegal detention. Erinma’s medical visa has expired and her bill has now increased to around N2.4m (she is being charged around N35k a day for the room alone).
The hospital management however said Erinma and her baby “were allowed to stay at the hospital on humanitarian grounds”, after her husband didn’t respond to calls and messages regarding the dues. “Her husband has not bothered to take the family back home despite repeated requests, even when the woman was fit to be discharged 15 days after admission.
Erinma said, “In Nigeria, several women undergo a Caesarean Section end up dead. Friends suggested I travel to India as the country has fantastic medical facilities. I didn’t know that I would have the worst experience here.”
Erinma’s husband said, “I wrote to several government departments. I am ready to pay the dues but over a course of time during which my wife will stay in India. I am unable to visit India due to financial and immigration issues. But my wife and daughter are being wrongly detained in India. I have not yet held my daughter in my arms, I only get to see her on the phone.”
In a statement, the hospital said: “Nobody has barred the patient from leaving the hospital. The couple was unable to pay the entire amount due to constraints and a limit to the amount of money they can carry out of their country. The husband promised to send the money and said that the woman would stay in the hospital till the bills are settled.”