By Constantinos Psillides
MAKARIOS Hospital director, Dr Petros Matas was outraged yesterday over a story run by the north’s daily Afrika claiming that the hospital was holding new-born twin girls to ransom until their Turkish Cypriot parents paid their bill.
“This is a disgrace. This is an outright insult to us as doctors and Greek Orthodox people. We would never keep children as a collateral. This is the highest of insults,” Matsas told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA).
The Afrika story was reported by the CNA, which regularly reports on the Turkish Cypriot media.
Matsas confirmed that the girls were born yesterday and that the father asked to pay the hospital fees in instalments. “We didn’t respond to his request because our accounting department refers this kind of problems to the health ministry. Not once did anyone suggest that the girls would be kept until the money was paid. That’s preposterous”.
The girls were born on Wednesday and are expected to spend a month in the incubator, due to the fact that they were born prematurely. The babies were delivered by Caesarean section, at the request of the couple’s family doctor, according to Afrika.
Matsas explained that the hospital charges €2,300 for the operation plus €295 per day per baby. The father paid a €2,000 deposit and according to Matsas asked for a settlement for the remaining fees.
Asked how long the babies would have to remain in the incubator, Matsas said: “As long as it takes”.
The hospital director claimed it was a common phenomenon for people to leave the hospital and not pay the hospital fees immediately. “They pay a deposit but a lot of them leave, never to be seen again. We end up having to chase after them. We used to call the police but now they just leave in the middle of the night but we have never, never held children to ensure payment,” he said.
Afrika claimed that the hospital threatened to hold the kids until they received full payment. Afrika also wrote that the father turned to the Turkish “embassy” in the north for financial help but was instead referred to the Turkish Cypriot “health ministry”.
Afrika has yet to respond to the comments made by Matsas.