A 48-hour ‘hostage’ drama involving 10 Guyanese children in a Chennai hospital ended on Saturday after the NGO sponsoring their heart surgeries and the hospital authorities reached an agreement over the hefty bills.
The children were set to fly to Guyana on Friday. But the West Indian republic’s former First Lady, Varshnie Singh, who is representing the NGO ‘Kids First Fund’ that sponsored the treatment, was not permitted to take the children following a dispute over the payment of bills.
“Now the NGO has agreed to pay the bill of $84,000 in six months. We had similar problems in the past as well. They were planning to take the children even without obtaining discharge certificates. Since children were involved, our chairman later intervened and allowed them to go this evening,” the chief administrative officer of Frontier Lifeline Hospital, Jose Manavalan, told HT on Saturday.
Renowned cardiologist Dr KM Cherian is the chairman of the hospital.
Manavalan said the hospital had to waive $13,000 six months ago on account of surgeries sponsored by the NGO. “Initially they threatened to go to the police. But later they realised our difficulties and came to the table. Both parties have now agreed not to lodge any complaint,” he said.
“Usually we demand at least half of the operation amount as advance. But in the case of charitable organisations we ease these norms. But it doesn’t mean they can take us for a ride,” Manavalan said. “We never held anyone hostage. It is sad to use such terms. We have to be paid for the service we rendered,” he said.
Singh, who tried to take the children on Friday, confirmed that a settlement had been reached and that they would leave by Monday.