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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

UAE Helping Hands: new mum left with Dh373,000 hospital bill after baby is born 15 weeks early

Her insurance company claimed they would cover up to Dh500,000 but said premature delivery was a pre-existing condition

Roxanne Adviento in her home with her son Aaron, who spent 92 days in nicu. Reem Mohammed / The National
Roxanne Adviento in her home with her son Aaron, who spent 92 days in nicu. Reem Mohammed / The National

Roxanne Adviento and her husband Carlson have been trying to have a baby for more than five years and suffered two miscarriages along the way.

She lost her first baby at 23 weeks in 2012 and the second after 20 weeks in 2014.

In September 2016, Ms Adviento was pregnant again and desperate not to repeat the traumatic experiences that plagued her previously.

“This time, I was hopeful and I was very careful. I had surgery at three months to tighten my cervix to prevent a miscarriage.”

Despite undergoing the surgery, Ms Adviento went into labour at 25 weeks. “I did everything to not have an early delivery. My target was seven months but it didn’t happen.”

Doctors told Ms Adviento her baby boy, who weighed just 1kg, had a 50 per cent chance of survival.

“We took our chances and the doctors prepared us for the worst.”

Seeing the baby for the first time, Ms Adviento says she had “mixed emotions.”

“We were scared, happy, worried. He was in Nicu (neonatal intensive care unit) and had so many tubes attached time. He head was like a small orange. He was so, so tiny,” she says.

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She named him Aaron and he remained in an incubator for 82 days but her troubles worsened fifteen days after he was admitted.

Ms Adviento works as sales assistant for an insurance company and had a good insurance plan that claimed to cover her hospital bills up to Dh500,000.

“I had also applied for insurance for Aaron and everything was going smoothly,” she says. However, after 15 days, the hospital told Ms Adviento the insurance company was rejecting their bills.

When she approached the company they claimed that a premature delivery was a pre-existing condition and so they would only cover her bills up to Dh150,000.

Each day at the Nicu costs Dh10,000 and doctors told her it was too risky to move Aaron.

Ms Adviento earns Dh6,000 a month and had no means to pay the hospital bills which had climbed to Dh700,000

“The insurance company paid Dh150,000 and family, friends and good Samaritans have donated some money but I still couldn’t to pay the entire amount,” she says.

Today Aaron is home and healthy but Ms Adviento still owes the hospital Dh373,000.

“The hospital has been very kind. They continued to treat my son even though they knew we couldn’t pay.” However, as a security deposit, the hospital has asked for a cheque as and have withheld her passport.

“I completely understand of course, they need a security deposit and they already have been very accommodating by continuing to care for my baby. I am indebted to them and the intention of paying them back is there but I have no resources. It’s a liability and I am trying my best. Any money that’s left each month, I put aside but I still don’t have enough to pay the amount,” she says.

Hisham Al Zahrani, manager of Zakat and Social Services at Dar Al Ber says the insurance company should have been forthright with Ms Adviento and her family.

“If she was informed she could have found other alternatives.

“We are asking our readers to help Roxanne pay the remaining amount due of Dh373,000 to help ease their burden,” says Mr Al Zahrani.

salnuwais@thenational.ae

*This article has been amended since publication to correct the amount of money paid by the insurance company.