PETALING JAYA: A Malaysian couple on holiday in England have been handed a huge medical bill after the wife unexpectedly delivered her baby.
The couple whose child was born prematurely, has run up medical bills totalling more than RM500,000.
Dr Irina Ishak, 35, was visiting her sister, reportedly an anaesthetist at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, when she went into labour in the university town on Aug 3 — 10 weeks earlier than the due date.
According to the Oxford Mail news daily, the infant boy, named Amin Mikael, is still in the high dependency unit of the hospital and could be there for at least another two weeks.
It reported that Irina and her husband, Hakam Razak, 36, have been told by doctors that the medical charges would cost around £2,000 (RM11,360) a day, which could come up to more than £100,000 (RM568,000) for the entire duration since delivery.
The report said Hakam and Irina are being charged 150% of the UK National Health Service’s (NHS) standard rate for treatment as they are overseas visitors.
Hakam was quoted as saying that they had thought about trying to pay the eventual amount themselves, but even all their savings would not cover the huge costs.
“We’ve spoken to NHS and there’s no way they can reduce the fee. We understand the rules are there for a reason,” he was quoted as saying.
“We’re using all our savings, but it isn’t enough. If we were working in the UK and were paid in pounds it would be a different story. But we make an earning in Malaysia and it’s a struggle.
“We know there are other issues in the world, but as parents we have to do what’s best for the baby.”
The report said Irina is a surgeon herself at a hospital in Kuala Lumpur while Hakam is an engineer. They already have a three-year old daughter named Alya.
The couple have since launched an appeal on the fund-raising website Gofundme.com for financial help from well-wishers.
In their appeal, they explained that Irina had suffered a pre-term premature rupture of the membrane while in Oxford.
“Prior to travelling, we had already verified that everything was fine with the baby and herself (Irina), and that she was officially cleared to fly by the obstetrician.
“A couple of weeks later, on Aug 3, our son, Amin Mikael, was born at 30 weeks and 2 days.
“Due to his premature condition, he is required to stay in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) until he is stable enough before being discharged,” they said.
They said Amin Mikael is still facing complications and the hospital has advised that he would be safe to travel home only when he reaches his “full-term corrected age” at 38 to 40 weeks.
The couple added that the treatment at the hospital had been “world class”.
“We can’t thank enough all the hospital staff, too. They have given a lot of support and help to us, mentally and physically,” they said.
Readers can view their appeal page at: https://www.gofundme.com/AminMikael.