Photo Credit: Nappy
British Couple Stuck in Dubai Due to Unpaid Medical Bills
A married couple from the UK is stuck in Dubai after their passports were seized due to unpaid medical bills.
Mick White and his wife Kat were traveling from the UK to Dubai for a 12-month-long stay. When Kat fell ill with mysterious seizures and fainting, the couple sought assistance from medical professionals at a Dubai hospital. However, the bill was more than they could afford.
“So we got a few days into it [trip to Dubai], she just didn’t feel well,” Mick said. “And then she had like a fully body spasm, her body froze.”
Mick told The Mirror that his wife first became ill in April while residing in the Middle Eastern Emirates. But doctors were unable to figure out the cause of her symptoms. When the couple was unable to pay the initial bill, Kat was sent home with some tablets to rest and recover. It wasn’t long before the seizures returned and Kat needed more medical attention.
“She was in the shower, so I moved her to the bed. I couldn’t even put her in the recovery position, she couldn’t bend her legs. And her hands all curled up with the spasm and her mouth changed. And I thought, is she having a stroke?”
By the time they were done, the Whites had racked up a bill of £11,000, or nearly $14,000. Mick says hospital officials are now holding his passport hostage as collateral for the enormous bill.
“I don’t know what to do, I feel like a prisoner,” he said.
Although one of Mick’s friends has set up a GoFundMe for the couple’s medical expenses, Mick noted he and his wife had time to leave Dubai. During Kat’s last hospital visit, Mick said doctors encouraged him and his wife to leave Dubai and return to England “as quick as you can.”
While the Whites did have travel insurance, their policy did not cover Kat’s medical expenses because the trip did not begin and end in the UK, per the policy. Mick says he assumed the expenses would be covered because his wife had previously had a similar experience that was covered on a trip to Saudi Arabia.
The Whites have reached out to the embassy but Mick says they have been little help and told the couple, “We’re not a charity.”
According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office’s website, the organization is obligated to cover the medical expenses of British nationals traveling abroad. The FCDO also told The Mirror in a statement that they “are providing consular assistance to a British couple in Dubai.”