x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Filipino allowed home despite Dh230,000 hospital bill

Man's welfare more important than debt, says Jebel Ali hospital.

DUBAI // An expatriate owing more than Dh230,000 in medical bills was allowed to fly home last week after doctors decided his welfare was more important than the debt.

Jose Elmer Castro, a 47-year-old Filipino who had been working as a heavy equipment painter in Dubai, suffered a brain haemorrhage caused by hypertension in May and was admitted to Cedars Jebel Ali International Hospital.

He was then taken to a private hospital in Sharjah for surgery, and was kept in the intensive care unit on a respirator before being transferred back to Cedars for his post-surgical care, which cost up to Dh6,500 a day.

Mr Castro's condition improved and he was declared fit to travel to the Philippines on August 5. Cedars decided to let him leave despite his outstanding Dh230,000 bill.

Dr Guenther Kieninger, Cedar's medical director, said the unpaid bill was "substantial" but the hospital had considered Mr Castro's welfare in its decision.

"The presence of his family and loved ones will help in his recovery," he said.

Mr Castro was accompanied by Cedars nurses during his flight to Manila on August 5. His wife, Annette, along with a representative from the country's overseas workers welfare administration, received him at the airport.

According to his cousin Rod Velasquez, 31, a designer in Dubai, he was admitted to Castro Medical Hospital in Bulacan, where he continued treatment.

Mr Castro is now recovering at his family home in San Fernando, Pampanga, about 57 kilometres north of Manila.