A Nigerian woman is unable to pay over £500,000 NHS bill after giving birth to quadruplets in a west London hospital. The 43-year-old new mother, known as Priscilla, told staff she was unable to pay her bill after having the babies at Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital in White City.
She claimed she planned to give birth in Chicago after being warned Nigerian hospitals did not have the “facilities to cater for the children”.
However, the heavily pregnant woman was turned away by US border officials and went into labour three months early during her return to Nigeria in November. One child died shortly after birth and another died on Saturday, January 28th.
Priscilla, who underwent IVF treatment to help her conceive, is now living in a London hostel run by a charity while her two surviving babies, Elijah and Esther, remain in hospital.
Her husband is unable to travel to the UK due to a further lack of funds. The family’s shocking story will feature on BBC 2 documentary Hospitals on Wednesday, February 1st.
During the episode, which highlights the pressures of so-called health tourism on the capital’s NHS trusts, staff reveal the cost of the complex birth procedure for the triplets and care of the babies has exceeded £500,000.
When first warned of the high treatment costs by overseas visitor manager Terry Facey, she says:
“I didn’t plan to come here. It’s only money. Money can’t buy life. The last bill I had was £331,000 but – even if I worked every day – I would never earn that much money. My kids are priceless.”
Mr Facey, who has worked at the trust for 12 years trying to collect bills for overseas patients, says:
“Those invoices are going to be huge … 20 grand a week for each baby (in intensive care). We will gently push forward and do what we have to do, we’re governed by the rules and regulations. They seem a bit fruitless at times.
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