Ten Guyanese children, who underwent cardiac surgery at a private hospital in Chennai and were detained for non-payment of bills, were on Saturday allowed to return home after the NGO that brought them here agreed to pay the money over a six-month period, a hospital official said.
Speaking to reporters in Chennai, K M Cherian, the chairman of Frontier Lifeline Hospital, said: "On the assurance from the NGO to settle the dues in six months time, the children have been permitted to go."
The dues add up to nearly Rs 45 lakh (Rs 4.5 million/$90,000), he said.
Early this month, the children were brought to the hospital, which specialises in cardiac surgery, by Guyanese NGO KidsFirst Fund. The children were operated upon and were set to return home on Friday when the hospital detained them for non-payment of bills.
KidsFirst Fund, under the charge of former first lady of Guyana Varshnie Singh, has been sending children for heart surgery for the past four years to the hospital.
According to Singh, the past practice has been to settle the dues after returning to Guyana.
On Friday evening, Singh told reporters here that the hospital had changed the payment system and the children were detained at the institute.
Hospital officials, however, maintain that the system was changed after the NGO defaulted on the payment last time.