Chennai hospital hostage drama involving ex-Guyana First Lady ends

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Chennai, June 27 (ANI): The 48-hour-long hostage drama at Chennai's Frontier Lifeline Hospital ended on Saturday after both the NGO and the hospital authorities reached an agreement to allow the ten children with heart-related ailments to return to Guyana on condition that the NGO would clear all medical expenses within the next six months.

The ten children were set to return to Guyana after heart surgeries. The West Indian republic's former First Lady, Varshnie Singh, who is representing the NGO that sponsored the treatment, was earlier not permitted to leave the hospital following a dispute over the payment of bills.

Dr. K M Cherian, the hospital's chairman, had earlier said that the patients would not be released. He said the patients had paid the money to the Guyanese NGO, but the latter had not forwarded the payments to the hospital.

The children and two adults brought by Singh under the aegis of the NGO, KidsFirst Fund, were about to leave the hospital on Friday night when they were stopped by hospital officials who insisted Singh settle the bills for surgeries before they left.

The Guyana-based NGO has been sending children to the hospital for heart surgeries for the last four years and used to settle bills after they return, Singh told reporters.

"We have come here five times before and have always paid later. This time, the hospital gave us a letter about a week after we arrived on June 9 asking us to pay," she had said adding she had ignored it in view of the past practice.

Singh claimed that she could not meet Cherian as she was informed he had gone abroad for a meeting, but hospital authorities said she had avoided meeting him on arrival.

Hospital Chief Administrative Officer Jose Manavalan said a sum of USD 13,000 was pending from the NGOs last visit and the hospital had waived it. (ANI)

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