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School of Politics and International Relations

Hospital patients held hostage for cash

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The Associated Press reports that hospital patients are being held hostage for cash around the world. The article reads: “At Kenyatta National Hospital and at an astonishing number of other hospitals around the world, if you don’t pay up, you don’t go home. The hospitals often illegally detain patients long after they should be medically discharged, using armed guards, locked doors and even chains to hold those who have not settled their accounts. Mothers and babies are sometimes separated.” Professor Sophie Harman, a said: “It’s the dirty underbelly of global health that nobody wants to talk about. People know patients are being held prisoner, but they probably think they have bigger battles in public health to fight, so they just have to let this go.”