The family of Glory Ekeleyede, a 12-year-old student of New Era College in Benin, Edo State, has called out for help after her corpse was held by a hospital.
The girl died at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital due to an illness but her corpse is beig held due to debt.
Now the family has called for help to recover her corpse for burial.
The grieving father of the deceased, Samson, said after his daughter died, the UBTH management held on to the corpse over the inability of the family to offset Glory’s outstanding medical bill to the tune of N400,000.
The 66-year-old, who said he had been doing menial jobs to feed his family, explained that attempts to save his daughter’s life made the family incur many debts
He said, “Our finances were completely wrecked due to Glory’s sickness. I do menial jobs outside to feed my children. My wife sells tomatoes and pepper in the market and that is how we have been managing.
“Glory hardly fell sick but the only time she took ill was the one that led to her death. We took her to some places for treatment because we thought she had a fever but when she wasn’t getting better after three days, we took to the Supreme Hospital where she was born and they referred us to UBTH.
“At the UBTH, we did many tests and bought lots of drugs but she eventually died and we were told to pay an outstanding bill of N393,910 before we could take her corpse. They refused to let me have her body until I offset the bill.”
Samson appealed to the Edo State government, non-governmental organisations, and public spirited individuals to come to their aid in a bid to secure the release of his daughter’s corpse to fulfil her burial rites.
Contacted, the state Public Relations Officer of the hospital, Joshua Uwaila, said he was not aware of the case, adding that the deceased’s father might have not gone through the right channel to seek assistance from the hospital.
He said, “We have a medical social services department where cases of indigent patients and social issues are handled and those are the ones that escalate it to management.
“Of course they also have to do their own investigations to actually ascertain if you are truly indigent. So, if you are going to waive bills or you are going to give some people a reduction, you need to do your investigations to find out if it’s somebody that deserves it.
“This has to do with the federal government’s revenue, and one cannot just by fiat tell them not to pay. The best that they can do is to write to the CMD who is the only person that can do something on the issue.”
Uwaila said the management needed payment for services rendered to sustain the hospital, adding that everyone should be careful about anything that had to do with government revenue.
“It’s a pathetic situation but someone has to pay the money, good Samaritans, charity, NGOs, someone should pick the bill,” Uwaila said.