MUM FACES DH340,000 HOSPITAL BILL FOR BABY
Sally Correa’s husband lost his job, their insurance was downgraded, then their daughter was born prematurely
Sally Correa’s pregnancy was difficult, and having to commute to work from Sharjah to Dubai did not help.
“It was a very tough, and I had morning sickness for five months,” she says.
During the first six months, doctors informed her that she was at risk of losing the baby and required surgery to avoid a premature birth. That was the same month her husband, Brian Fernandes, lost his job.
“He was a waiter for seven years but then the company shut the restaurant, and Brian was fired.”
The 29-year-old Indian underwent surgery on her cervix, but nothing prepared her for what was to come a month later.
“I began having contractions and was bleeding heavily.”
Ms Correa, who works in sales for a shipping company, was told her insurance would cover her delivery bills at a specific hospital.
“When I arrived at the hospital, I discovered that on the same day they had changed my policy from a category A to B, which doesn’t include delivery costs. The hospital refused to let me in.”
In severe pain and bleeding heavily, Ms Correa was told by her company’s HR department to go to another hospital.
“That hospital also refused me because of my policy. I was in so much pain and scared. I was sure I was losing my baby,” she says.
She rushed to a third hospital, but it also refused to admit her claiming that it did not have a neonatal intensive care unit.
“Thankfully the HR department was very helpful and told us to go to yet another hospital, which had agreed to admit me. I was immediately taken to the emergency room and had a C-section.”
On July 16, Samaira was born, two months premature. She was placed in an intensive care unit and required a ventilator because her lungs had not fully developed.
“It breaks my heart to see all the tubes attached to her tiny body,” her mother says. Samaira is still in intensive care and her mother commutes every day from Sharjah to the hospital in Bur Dubai.
The commute takes her anywhere between three and four hours. “Samaira is better and can breathe alone for longer periods of time,” she says. Doctors have not told her when her baby will be released. “It could be between a week to a month,” Ms Correa says.
While the family looks forward to the day they can take their first-born home, they are worried they will be jailed and deported immediately after. As of Thursday, Samaira’s stay in intensive care has cost Dh340,000. Ms Correa earns about Dh5,000 per month.
“There is no way we can afford this,” she says. The insurance company also raised her newborn daughter’s insurance premium from Dh3,000 to Dh50,000.
The couple’s family are all in India. “Our families are not rich. They are very worried but they can’t do anything to help us.”
After asking for assistance from her friends, she was able to raise Dh5,000. “I am touched by their generosity, but it doesn’t help us at all. I’ve given it back to them.”
Ms Correa says the hospital has been putting pressure on them. “They told me to take out a loan to pay them. How can I borrow money that I can never pay back?”
Hisham Al Zahrani, manager of Zakat and Social Services at Dar Al Ber said: “Ms Correa and Mr Fernandes need your help, without which they will never be able to settle this enormous bill.”
Sally Correa and her husband Brian Fernandes cannot pay the fees for their daughter, who has been in intensive care