Beirut: The image of the 43-year-old Lebanese citizen Hussein Al-Baarini, shook social media users, in which he appeared carrying the body of his infant son in his arms, leaving the hospital on foot to bury him.
Hussein Al-Baarini, from the town of Fnaideq Al-Akkari, was forced to mortgage his nephew’s car to retrieve the body of his infant, who died after staying 25 days in the incubator, and the bill amounted to USD 2,400.
In a video clip which was widely circulated on social media platforms, Al-Baarini said, “The doctor who was following up on his child’s condition called him to inform him of his death.”
He added that when he went to the hospital to receive the body of his child, the accounting employee asked me for USD 2,400. I did not object, but I only had USD 400. I offered it to her in exchange for receiving the body, but she refused without obtaining a guarantee from someone who would sponsor me.
He explained, “After the department official saw that I could not pay the money, she asked me to leave the car key that I had with me, which belonged to my sister’s son, as a mortgage to the hospital.”
In the video, he continued, “I took the car key after I learned that its price was approximately two thousand dollars, so I left the key and walked back with my son’s body.”
In turn, Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, founder and chairman of the Al Habtoor Group, which finances the hospital, posted a tweet in which he said, “We pray that the soul of this infant angel dwells in his spacious gardens and inspires his family patience and solace.”
“Although we support Khalaf Al Habtoor Hospital in Harar to serve our people in Akkar, we reject any behaviour that shows interest over humanitarian situations, and we ask for clarification from the hospital’s independent administration, which is responsible before God and people,” he added.
Dr Rabih Al Samad, Director of Khalaf Al Habtoor Hospital, commented on the tweet, saying, “We highly appreciate your constant support for Akkar and its people, and we ask God for mercy for the child and for his family patience and solace.”
“The child stayed in the incubator in the hospital for 25 days, and the cost of his treatment was high. Nevertheless, the hospital did not fail to provide the necessary treatment. What happened during the parent’s departure with the late child is rejected and unacceptable, and the employee will be subject to strict accountability,” Dr Rabih tweeted.
Since 2019, Lebanon has been suffering an unprecedented economic and financial crisis, exacerbated by the scarcity of basic commodities and the loss of the local currency, about 90 percent of its value.