Saudi Arabia: Expat held at hospital over failure to pay bill

Published:  3 Jan at 4 PM
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Tagged: Australia
An expat was temporarily detained at a Saudi Arabian hospital for failing to pay his medical bill, before being allowed to leave after the Department of Health Affairs intervened.

Muddathir Ibrahim, whose total bill came to SR100,000, said he went to the private hospital in Madinah as he felt fatigued, and two days, when his condition worsened, was recommended to be transferred to an intensive care unit (ICU) at a government hospital. He spent 12 days in the ICU and 22 in total in hospital, but when was advised that he could leave was told his bill was in excess of SR100,000.

He explained that the hospital demanded the bill be paid as a condition of discharge. Without the funds, Ibrahim asked his friends for help and was able to collect a third of the total bill. However, the hospital management was not happy with that and told him they would inform the police unless he footed the remainder. He ended up leaving his room to ensure his treatment bill would go up no further, opting instead to stay in the lobbies.

Ibrahim went on to say that he didn’t receive a prescription, and claimed that the hospital was trying to bargain with him regarding the discharge documents. He said he later learnt treatment and length of stay charges were not on the bill, while no procedures had been taken to transfer him to the government hospital after it had been recommended.

After filing a complaint to the Department of Health Affairs, the situation was resolved when the department ruled that he only had to pay the bill up until the transfer recommendation was made.
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