Britain’s NHS is trying to recover a bill of more than £500,000 from a Nigerian woman who gave birth to IVF quadruplets in the UK. The mother, who has been identified only by her first name Priscilla, went into premature labour on arrival at Heathrow airport at the end of last year.
The 43 year old was trying to get to Chicago to deliver her babies. However, she was turned away by immigration officials when she got there. She said that she did have a visa to get her into the US, where she has family, but did not have the necessary paperwork to show that she was able to pay for the medical treatment needed during the birth.
Priscilla, who works in healthcare, explained that she had been on her way back to Nigeria, via London, when her contractions began. She was then rushed to a hospital in west London where she gave birth. Sadly, one baby died just after being born, while another died a few weeks later. Her other two newborns, who she has named Elijah and Esther, remain in the intensive care ward at the Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital.
Can’t afford to pay
The hospital says that the birth and aftercare mean she has already racked up a bill of more than £500,000. The woman is staying at a charity hostel at the moment and cannot afford the bill. Her husband does not even have enough money to pay for a visa or flight to join her from Nigeria.
Priscilla had IVF treatment when she did not conceive naturally. She was advised by a doctor to go to America to give birth, because Nigerian hospitals would not have the ability to cope with the multiple birth.
When she was told about the treatment costs, she said that it was only money, and that even if she worked every day, she would not earn enough to pay the bill. She added: “My kids are priceless.”