Monday, March 20, 2006

Report: E. J'lem hospital held newborn triplet as 'deposit'

By Yuval Yoaz and Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondents
Moqassed Hospital in East Jerusalem allegedly refused to release a baby to its mother for two months until she paid her hospital bill. After the Justice Ministry's legal aid department intervened last week upon the mother's request, the Health Ministry ordered the baby released to her. The ministry now is looking into whether the hospital can be prosecuted for false imprisonment, and whether it should assist the mother in suing the hospital for damages. The woman gave birth prematurely to triplets at Moqassed two months ago, and the babies needed extensive hospitalization. But due to the hospital's concern that the National Insurance Institute (NII) would not cover the costs, since the babies' father is a resident of the Palestinian Authority, the hospital allegedly decided to release only two of the babies, keeping the third as a "guarantee."

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