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Clinic Held Baby "Hostage" Until Mother Could Pay Her Bills


A health clinic in Gabon is facing criticism from around the world after keeping a baby from her parents for five months.

The newborn girl, known publicly as "baby Angel," was kept in the Abora Nzoma clinic outside the country's capital in Libreville until her parents paid their bill.

Angel was born prematurely, and needed to stay in an incubator for 35 days. The BBC reports that the clinic charged Angel's parents $3,630 for the use of that device.

Gabon Media Time

But the clinic drew national outrage for refusing to release Angel until her parents covered the entire cost of her stay, which took them five months.

Angel's parents had to raise money to cover their costs, and even the country's President Ali Bongo chipped in to cover the bill.

While Angel's parents are happy to bring their baby home, the investigation into the clinic's behavior has already taken a strange turn.

Authorities in Gabon say they arrested the clinic's director this week for kidnapping, but the charges were dropped the next day.

The Gabon Media Times reports that prosecutors are still digging in to the clinic's credentials and the background of their staff.

But for Angel's mother, Sonia Okome, the important thing is finally being able to bring home her baby.


"I'm happy to have my baby back, but I'm sorry that I can't breastfeed her because after five months all my milk has gone," she told the BBC.

Okome also complained that her daughter wasn't given any vaccines during her stay in the clinic.

Weirdly, this isn't the first time a mother has reported her baby was "held hostage" by doctors.

A British tourist has a similar story about a Turkish hospital: when her daughter was born prematurely, she was held in the hospital for three months while they demanded $130,000.

A preemie baby born while his parents were on vacation in Cancun, Mexico also forced them to fork out more than $50,000 to get him safely back in America.

Is it fair for the hospital to keep a baby until the bill is paid?

[H/T: BBC, Gabon Media Time]

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