Patients detained over unpaid bills


KAROI Scores of patients at Karoi District Hospital have been detained over unsettled medical bills.

When NewsDay visited the institution on Monday, patients, including new mothers, with outstanding bills were detained and complained of hunger.

I have been here for the past two weeks as my husband, who is a farm labourer, cannot raise the $80 for the bill, said a patient who requested anonymity.

The hospital is not providing me with food. I am starving here and I fear my new-born child will be affected.

Another patient, Patrick Mugumbate, who had just been discharged, said he owed the hospital only $20, but officials would not allow him to go home before settling the bill.

I was only released after my brother brought the cash, he said.

A district medical officer, only identified as Toma, referred questions to provincial medical director Wencelaus Nyamayaro, who professed ignorance over the matter.

Although I am not aware of that, we do not allow people to be detained, Nyamayaro said.
It could be happening, yes, but we do not condone it.

But he lamented under-funding of hospitals by government, saying this at times forced individual institutions to take drastic action such as detention in a bid to recover money owed by patients.