A Kenyan woman and her 19-month-old son are currently detained at an Indian hospital after she failed to settle a huge medical bill.
Lydia Onyango and her son, Randy Onyango, traveled to India on July 27th where the boy was set to undergo a specialized surgery.
On August 2nd, the minor underwent successful heart surgery at MIOT Hospital in Chennai, India and was discharged 16 days later, according to The Standard.
However, the mother and her son were detained by the hospital after they failed to pay a bill initially totaling $6,182 (Sh618,200).
Speaking to The Standard, the boy’s father Pacifica Onyango said his wife and son have been detained since August 18th and the bill increases by Sh5,000 daily. He said his family is unable to settle the bill that is now nearing Sh1 million
“The amount continues accruing every day,” said Onyango.
The hospital confiscated their passports to ensure they do not leave the hospital. Their medical visas also expired this week.
Onyango said the two have been surviving through the help of other generous patients who have been giving them diapers, sugar, salt, and bottled water.
He said the child was referred to India for a delicate heart operation after treatment at Mater Hospital.
“At Mater Hospital, after he had been on treatment for two months, we were referred to MIOT Hospital in Chennai, India, for a delicate heart surgery that involved reconstruction of new blood vessels,” said Onyango.
Lydia teaches at a private secondary school in Migori while Onyango, a social worker, is unemployed.
The family organized a fundraiser but only managed to raise Sh120,000. The air ticket for the mother and son cost Sh107,000.
“Whenever the wards are empty, my family is given a place to sleep, but when the wards are full, they spend the night on the floor,” said Onyango.
“After inquiring, l was told a hotel outside the hospital charges Sh2,000 per day. But the hospital has declined to release my family. Now, they are charging us Sh5,000 every day,” he added.
In an interview with a local media last month, Onyango said a non-governmental organization (NGO) known as HAWI had pledged to fully sponsor her son’s treatment in India.
However, a few days after the boy underwent surgery, the organization informed the family that it could not settle the hospital bill as earlier promised.
Onyango is appealing to well-wishers to help him raise the cash and have his family return to Kenya.