The Delta State Chapter of Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, CDHR, has said the management of Syracuse Clinic in Warri allegedly detained a ten-year-old gunshot victim, Master Prince Emeghene over unpaid medical bills.
CDHR Secretary in Delta State, Comrade Jonathan Giama raised the allegation in a statement.
He said the hospital management detained the child since June 2019 till date.
Giama said the action by the hospital was inhuman and cruel, saying it violated the child’s right, pointing out that it is a gross violation of chapter IV and Section 35 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended in section 39 of the child’s Right Act 2003 and Section 40 of the Delta State Child’s Rights law (s) in Nigeria.
Giama appealed to the hospital management to allow the child to go home to join his family members.
CHDR insisted that the hospital did a good work by treating a child who sustained a bullet wound inflicted on him by a vigilante.
The Rights group noted that there were other legal instruments available for the hospital management to retrieve its bills without detaining or incarcerating the little boy as doing so violates the child’s fundamental human human rights.
” The issue of unlawful incarceration, imprisonment and detention of a child vis-a-vis child abduction, of course are criminal offence(s) in Nigeria.
” For the record, Dr. Victor Oraegbu did not dispute the fact that the child had been discharged and seized to be his patients, but still under his unlawful incarceration, imprisonment and confinement since June 2019 and enslaved till date”.
In a swift reaction, management of Syracuse Clinic defended its action saying the child was only given an interim bill of N86,500,00 on the 6th of July, 2019.
The hospital spoke through its lawyer, Barr. Raphael Okene, Principal Partner of Chief Raphael Okene & Co.
The legal practitioner said they carried out the bullet wound surgery on the child without an initial deposit.
She said after the treatment, the hospital management was reliably informed that the community gave the sum of N555,000,00 ( Five hundred and fifty-five thousand naira) to the mother of the patient who had paid only N55,000,00 (Fifty five thousand naira) to Syracuse Clinic since she was issued the interim medical bill.
” The mother never paid the complete money paid to her by the community. This shows that the mother of the patient has misappropriated the sum of N500,000,00 ( Five hundred thousand naira.)
“We were further informed that the total of N555,000,00 (Five hundred and fifty thousand naira) collected by the community was given to the mother of the patient on two instalments of N255,000,00 and N300,000,00 respectively”.
He also urged the public to disregard the allegations made by the mother of the patient as he described them as false.
He charged the mother to withdraw her allegations make payment for the complete professional charges which include the interim bill and other charges to be paid to Syracuse Clinic in full.
The little Master Prince Emegjene who was treated of bullet wound is still being held by the hospital management until full payment of his medical bills are completed before he could regain his freedom.