Parents say their 4-month-old baby died after being refused emergency treatment in hospital due to inability to pay deposit

Photo illustration
Photo illustration

There have been many stories in Indonesia of low-income citizens being refused medical treatment that they desperately need because they can’t afford it, despite the fact that many of them hold government health insurance. Money, or a lack thereof, allegedly led to the tragic death of 4-month-old baby Debora in Jakarta recently.

According to Debora’s parents, they took their baby to privately-run Mitra Keluarga Hospital in Kalideres, West Jakarta for an unspecified illness. There, the doctor advised that Debora be admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) but the hospital refused as her parents couldn’t cover the deposit for the medical bills at the time.

Despite promising to pay the deposit later the same day, the hospital allegedly still refused to let Debora into the PICU. Debora then passed away as she was being transferred to Koja Hospital, which, unlike Mitra Keluarga, accepts the government’s BPJS healthcare plan.

“Right now, our officers are investigating the case,” said Grand Commissioner Adi Deriyan Jayamarta, director of the Special Crimes Investigation Unit at the Jakarta Metro Police, as quoted by Detik today.

Representatives of Mitra Keluarga denied refusing to admit Debora to the PICU over the deposit money. According to them, Debora’s mother, Henny Silalahi, decided herself not to continue Debora’s treatment at Mitra Keluarga due to her family’s financial constraints.

That defense hasn’t stopped government officials from criticizing the hospital. Health Minister Nila Moeloek said Mitra Keluarga should set aside issues regarding medical bills when treating emergency patients. She said her ministry is going to investigate the case further to determine if Mitra Keluarga broke any laws.

Jakarta Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat said he would evaluate Mitra Keluarga’s permit if they were proven to have been negligent in treating Debora. He also announced that he’s working to have all private hospitals in Jakarta accept patients with the BPJS healthcare plan by 2019.

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