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NIGERIA: Mother, baby detained 3 months in hospital for failure to settle N150,000 bill

When a private clinic and maternity home, Jola-Oluwa Medical Clinic, was started over 20years ago by Dr. Kayode Koyejo, it was a succour to residents of  Ikotun and its environs.

The street where the clinic was located was named after it’s founder, Rev. Dr. Kayode Koyejo because he was rendering selfless services to patients.

He was reputed for taking all cases brought before him as a challenge to ensure satisfactory medical attention, and that attracted  several patients, both rich and poor to the clinic.

Little wonder he became a household name within a short time, and the reputation of the clinic was so high that he garnered several awards including 2006 best private health facilities on Immunization  and Utilization Services award.

However, this benevolence was short lived as Kayode Koyejo, 64, died in a ghastly motor accident on the 9th of March 2012, as he was rushing to the clinic to attend to an emergency situation.

There were outbursts of emotion and anguish as residents of the area and other beneficiaries trooped to the clinic to mourn their hero.  Expectant mothers were worst hit by the cruel turn of events. Soon after his burial, his wife, a Matron at Ikotun Medical Centre, Titi, took over the responsibility of managing the clinic.

Unfortunately, barely a year after his demise,  the centre could no longer hold.  The high reputation of the clinic started to dwindle.  It started experiencing low patronage. Allegations began to trail the once highly recommended clinic, chief among them being the case of a 49-year- old man identified as Pere Douglass, who recently ran to the police for help over the  treatment meted on his wife at the private clinic where she was delivered of a baby boy through caesarian operation.

My case

The Alabiri-Bayelsa State born businessman narrated his plight to Crime Guard.  According to him,  “Trouble started in February after my wife Ebiere Douglass, was delivered of our child on the 5th of February, through Cesarian operation.  She had to remain at the clinic with the baby because I could not pay N150,000 medical bill.   My wife met Mrs Titilayo koyejo, sometime in December 2012, when she went to Ikotun Medical Centre to register for ante-natal.   Mrs. Titilayo happens to be one of the matrons there. They became friends along the line,and Titilayo further referred my wife to register for ante-natal at her private clinic.

This, she did, in December. When she did not put to bed on the due date, she was asked to go for a second scan, which we did at Tejuosho laboratories here in Ikotun.   It was at the laboratory that the doctor broke the news of the abnormal positioning of the baby in her womb, he also noticed that the water was dry; a situation that will cause difficulty in delivering the baby,and  he said the only solution would be a Caesarian operation.  Unfortunately,  I suffered colossal losses in my oil and gas business as I was duped of a huge amount of money, part of which I would have used to sort out this bill.   I was left with no option but to watch my wife and baby stay back at the clinic because of my inability to pay the bill.   Last Friday, she and our baby were thrown out of the room they occupied and they had to sleep at the reception for three days.”

Our ugly experience

His 36-year-old wife, Ebierre, from Bende in Abia State who spoke with Crime Guard at the Clinic while lying on the floor at the reception hall of the clinic stated that she has seen hell on earth after giving birth to a bouncing baby boy since February 5, 2013.  “I came to register after I was referred here by the matron and owner of this place, Mrs Titilayo Koyejo whom I met and developed a cordial relationship with at  Ikotun Medical Centre, where I had gone to register for ante-natal in December 2012;.   I also carried out a scan at a laboratory here in Ikotun.   I brought the result to the clinic and was told every thing was fine,that I will be due in January.   But the due date came and nothing happened. I came to the clinic and was administered an injection to induce labour; but it did not come.   It later resulted into a caesarean operation.

After the operation which went successfully, my husband went to the matron and asked her for the total cost incurred, she told him it is N150,000; but that she had to pay the bills  to settle the doctor that performed the operation and that we have to balance her the money. We saw this as a very kind gesture from her and my husband explained his ordeal in the hands of fraudsters.

He assured he would not mind a written undertaking to be allowed a short period to raise the money and offset the bill. She agreed but insisted that I have to stay back at the hospital. I was also being administered  medications due to complications that followed for two weeks after the operation,and a doctor she employed came to my room and asked the nurses why I was  still at the clinic, they told him my story and he ordered them to stop administering any medications to me until we have settled all outstanding bills…. From that time, I would cry of stomach pain and would not get any medicine.

“Since that development, the matron has been threatening me and my baby, that we will start sleeping on the floor.  Last Friday (April 19th) , when she returned from work, she came into the room and told me that from now, we will have to start sleeping on the floor; that I will no longer use the water nor electricity. My husband came and we pleaded with her to give us more time that things have not been easy for us, especially as my husband has been running around, to get the money.

But she turned down our plea. I later went to meet her in her apartment, which is next door to the clinic, she refused to listen instead,she asked me to return to the clinic that she will meet me there. When she came, I further pleaded with her to consider the baby, that we know she has really tried her best, and that we did not plan things to turn out this way.

I told her we deeply appreciated all she has done, and that she should exercise a little patience with us. She said she can not bear it any more and then instructed one of the nurses to pack up my things and clear the room. The nurses hurriedly cleared up all our belongings there by scattering them all over the room. After that, an electrician was called in to disconnect the electricity and fan.

“Since that Friday up till now, (April 22nd), this is where we have been sleeping. We have not had our bath. Mosquitoes feast on my little baby at night while other flies will take over in the day time.  We have not been allowed to take our birth for days now.  Efforts by sympathetic patients to render help were stopped by the nurses who were directed not to give us any breathing space.  Not being able to bear this anymore, my husband went to Ikotun police station and reported the matter pleading that they should assist us to make the Matron agree to an undertaking.

The DPO accompanied him here to see things for himself. He asked the matron to make us sign an undertaking that we will pay the money at an agreed time, and allow us to go home. she refused, telling the DPO that she does not want to be going to the station to ask for her money; that the police was not there when the clinic carried out the operation on me. The DPO then ordered her to allow us back into the room since she refused to us signing an undertaking. That it is a crime to throw out a new born baby and a nursing mother.

“I feel helpless, if I could, I would have rallied and payed up the money a long time ago. This is a situation no woman will want to see herself in, and my baby, what has he done to deserve this,” she asked, wiping tears off her eyes.

Related case

A sympathetic neighbour who spoke with  Crime Guard under the guise of anonymity narrated another pathetic case involving a pregnant woman in the same hospital.  According to the neighbour, a pregnant woman identified as Grace  was rushed to the clinic in the 1st week of March 2013; but because there was no down payment for delivery, she was not given proper medical attention and as a result, the set of twins died. The visibly angry neighbour volunteered the telephone number of the victim.

When Crime Guard tried to reach the victim on phone, a man that identified himself as her husband confirmed the incident but said he would rather allow the case to rest, because he felt everything happened the way God wanted it. “Yes, we lost our twin babies at the clinic last month, but I don’t want to attribute it to poor medical attention. I feel the clinic did their best, believe me they tried their best, considering the fact that we did not drop any money. We have decided to take the death of our twin babies as an act of God.”

Why we took the measures


When Crime Guard visited the clinic, the matron, Titilayo Koyejo, was not around but her 25 year-old son, identified as Abolaji koyejo, spoke on why the clinic took such measure.   He said,  “The clinic decided to take some stringent measures  to get Mr Douglass to speed up and get the money paid. This clinic was started around 1992 by my father, who managed this place alongside my mum. But after his death on the 9th of March 2012, my mother (Mrs koyejo) has been saddled with the  task of managing this clinic and believe me, it has not been easy. The clinic has not been fetching much funds like it used to when my dad was alive. We have been trying to run it, introducing different strategies just to make sure things are working fine. The clinic suffered a drastic decrease in patronage after my dad passed on due to the fact that the man they used to know to be in charge of the place is no more. Though, we now have some of them coming back.  It’s been well over two months that we have Mrs. Douglas here. She came in as a pregnant woman and put to birth through caesarian operation  that involved one of the doctors in the house. Normally, she was meant to pay up her bills and leave after every other check-up must have been done to ensure that she is alright. But unfortunately, we had to settle the bills from our purse, because the doctor that operated on her was not directly associated with us, he has his own clinic. After the operations, she had some other complications which was treated by the clinic without her paying a dime.

During the Easter period, the husband came to us and pleaded that we give them more time, that he was going to settle the bill; a month later, he did not show up to fulfill his promise. The clinic has been very lenient with them, what we did is not against the ethics of hospital management anywhere. She can go to any other clinic to confirm this. This has not been fair to us.  We pay bills here too; we have over N9,000 PHCN bill every month, the staff salary is there and many other responsibilities. Considering the low patronage, running this place has not been easy on us, what we are after is for them to pay their bills and go.”

Crime Guard  gathered that the situation took a dramatic turn last Monday after the police at Ikotun visited the hospital and saw the deteriorating condition of the woman and her child.  They reportedly made concerted efforts to plead with the matron to allow them sign an undertaking to no avail.  This prompted the urgent intervention of the Commissioner of Police, Umar Manko who directed that the mother and her ailing child should be urgently evacuated from the hospital while the police at Ikotun division should ensure that proper arrangements were made to recover the money for the hospital.

This directive was swiftly carried out and police sources said, if not for the wisdom applied by the DPO, some staff of the hospital nearly resisted police intervention violently.   As at press time, it was not possible to ascertain whether the police is pressing any charges on the hospital for detaining the mother and her child for so long in the hospital or not.

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