A hospital in the United Area Emirates gave new parents a bill for 444,123.68 AED (over $120,000 in USD) after their baby was born prematurely while the couple was visiting the country. Dad, British-born Azhar Saleem, and his wife, Syeda Khola Adnan, of Dubai, were planning on giving birth in the UK, where there’s Universal Healthcare.
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After a stunning turn of events, Adnan ended up giving birth prematurely in Dubai where she’s uninsured. Adnan was waiting for her UK visa to come when her baby was born. The hospital in Dubai demanded she pay the huge sum of money fast or she wouldn’t be able to take her baby girl home.
The drama began shortly after the couple married in December 2018.
Adnan set up a GoFundMe page where she explained that the couple planned to settle in the UK. The universal healthcare there would have covered the expense of their baby’s birth. However, Adnan was forced out of the UK, where she’d been staying on a temporary visa. This meant she had to return to Dubai and wait for a different, spousal visa, to be processed.
In a sad twist, the visa was denied. “My visa for the UK got rejected because we submitted the wrong kind of IELTS [English] test, based on our [lawyer’s] advice,” Adnan said on the GoFuneMe page. “Because of my visa being rejected, I was separated from my husband and had to face delivering my baby [alone] In Dubai.”
They thought they had time because the baby wasn’t due until October.
The couple waited patiently hoping the visa drama would work itself out before the baby was born. Tragically, Adnan suffered complications that landed her in the hospital in July. A fetal specialist quickly realized that there were issues with the amniotic fluid. This meant Adnan had to have an emergency operation.
“Our baby’s heart rate and blood pressure was decreasing rapidly,” Adnan said. “They immediately did an emergency C-section and our baby was delivered by the grace of God.”
Baby Amal was born 23 weeks premature and weighed less than a pound. Amal was so small she fit in her mother’s hand.
Adnan received a bill shortly after Amal’s birth for a whopping $120,000. Without insurance, the new mother was expected to pay out of pocket. The kicker? The amount would only continue to grow as the baby needed extensive care from the neonatal intensive care unit. In total, Adnan will be expected to pay upwards of $246,000.
How many new parents do you know that have that kind of money sitting around?
“We tried to reason with the hospital, offering monthly installments based on our capabilities,” she posted. “They rejected our notion and astonishingly asked for the whole payment up front or split up the payment in three installments.”
In addition to that bill, the couple was desperately trying to save money for another visa application for Adnan.
Even if she could return to the UK, the hospital would not release her baby.
“The hospital has threatened legal action and the doctor has advised they won’t give us our daughter back until the bill is totally cleared,” Adnan explained. “Neither me or my husband have that sort of money to pay for the bill. As we recently got married and applied for my UK visa we are still paying off loans that we took for that, and I do not work.”
Not knowing where to turn, the desperate parents decided to start a fundraising campaign.
“We really need help to bring my baby home, any kind of help would be appreciated,” Adnan said in the GoFundMe post. “You don’t realize the situations you can find yourself in until you find yourself in them. I have never thought of asking for help before in my life, but sometimes you have to bite the bullet and your pride and do everything you can to bring your loved ones, in this instance our baby home.”
The kindness of strangers prevailed and donations began pouring in. Then this past Friday, one person changed everything.
Adnan’s prayers were answered when a very generous donor worked with the hospital to settle the bill for $68,000 — about half of the initial amount. In an update to the GoFundMe page, Adnan said an anonymous person settled the astronomical hospital bill for her and the issue had been completely resolved.
She ended the fundraising campaign and refunded money to people who’d already donated. She plans on paying it forward, saying, “I will continue to donate on a monthly basis until my last breath. The support has been overwhelming and will stay with us for the rest of our lives. To think that your daughter will not be allowed to come home when ready, due to an astronomical bill, gave us more than sleepless nights.”
Baby Amal is still in care, but the family can see a silver lining.
“We hope that within a matter of weeks she will be at home where she can continue to rest, grow, be a baby and when we can finally hold her,” Adnan posted.
We’re glad this story had a happy ending and we hope this young family keeps getting good news!
Andrew is an Assistant Editor for Mamas Uncut with over ten years of experience as a writer in the creative, marketing, and blogging spaces. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a passion for telling stories in a variety of mediums. Obsessively making lists, reporting celebrity news, and diving into emerging pop cultural topics are a few of his interests.
- 1 The drama began shortly after the couple married in December 2018.
- 2 They thought they had time because the baby wasn’t due until October.
- 3 Baby Amal was born 23 weeks premature and weighed less than a pound. Amal was so small she fit in her mother’s hand.
- 4 Even if she could return to the UK, the hospital would not release her baby.
- 5 The kindness of strangers prevailed and donations began pouring in. Then this past Friday, one person changed everything.
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