Patricia Macauley, a patient who was held hostage at the ELWA Hospital after she had undergone successful treatment, was over the weekend discharged, following an appeal from Mr. Emeka Obiamiwe, Chief Executive Officer of NUBIAN radio in Monrovia.
Patricia was billed the amount of L$68,000, which she could not make available, and had acquiesced to the ELWA Hospital’s alleged insistence to have her remain on its premises until said cost could be paid.
According to reports from the hospital, Patricia, who was admitted on August 3, was treated and temporarily discharged a few weeks later when she gave birth.
Patricia and the young baby were finally released on September 7, after the CEO of Nubian FM made an appeal to the hospital.
Obiamiwe presented an check for the initial amount L$30,000 to one of the hospital administrators, Martha F. Korpu, a patient advocate, and Arthur Taylor.
The presentation was made possible through the kind courtesy of a group called GLS-NAS as well as other philanthropists, including Mrs. Sara Beysolow Nyanti of UNHCR-Jordan, Pia Brown and Samia Adanne Adighibe of the United States of America and Ada Reeves-Clarke.
During the presentation, Obiamiwe explained his experience with Patricia. “My lady had just had our first baby girl when I came in contact with Patricia. I decided to help her out as she needed help and thought of her as a sister or her child who could have been mine.”
In the wake of these prevailing conditions, Obiamiwe said plans are currently underway to reach out to friends and associates in the Diaspora and items will be collected to help women and children trapped in such circumstances . “I’m going to use my radio station and upcoming events to create awareness as well as raise funds to free many other girls or women like Patricia,” he noted.
Patricia Macauley told the Daily Observer that following successful treatment, she could not be released immediately, because she could not afford the amount requested for her treatment. According to her, the brother who promised to pay the bill went out of town to look for money.
“He went on the hustle and promised to come soon if he had some of the money, because the amount was too much for me,” she stated.
Patricia is a petty trader and resides in Chicken Soup Factory Community. She is a mother of three. In tears, she expressed deep frustration and regretted the way in which she was treated by her fiancé, who has been identified as one Eman. “The guy who impregnated me said he never wanted it and said that I should abort it, which I refused to do. And so he left me,” she said.
She however expressed thanks and appreciation to Mr. Obiamiwe, including other humanitarians who rallied around to get her out of the hospital.
Arthur Taylor from the business and finance department at ELWA Hospital, in conversation with Mr. Obiamiwe, said that at no time has ELWA hospital kept any patient who, as in the case of Patricia, did not have money to pay his/her bill.
“Patients who are not able to pay their bills here, we discharge them free of charge, because it is against our ethics as professional health personnel to keep patients hostage,” he stated.
According to him, when Patricia successfully completed her treatment, she was asked to fill in a form with names and contact numbers that included her brother’s, after Patricia had promised to pay the bill.
He claimed that since the names and contacts were given to them, they have tried to call anyone related to Patricia but to no avail, something which, he said, they have experienced from many patients. He said when patients are admitted, forms are filled in for further reference in case of anything, “but some patients deliberately give us numbers that don’t exist.”
He maintained that ELWA, as a renowned health center in Liberia, understands the rules and regulations involved in dealing with patients, “regardless of who they are, rich or poor.”