'Patients' stranded after Sharjah hospital closed

Pregnant woman reaches hospital for delivery but finds it closed

A leading hospital in Sharjah has been closed by the authorities for an undisclosed reason, leaving employees and "emergency" patients in the dark.

The Sharjah Economic Department has sealed the premises of 60-bed Central Private Hospital near Clock Tower, which employs approximately 200 staff, according to a notice placed at the entrance of the hospital.

“I have come here after fixing an appointment with the doctor regarding my son’s eye problem. The hospital is closed and there is a warning note from the Sharjah Economic Department. We don’t know what the reasons are; several patients keep coming here, but there is no response from the hospital, doctors or the 24-hour customer care number,” said Ismail, an Arab expatriate.

The situation is worse for Sajid Ali, an Eppco Petroleum’s tanker driver, who is moving around with his pregnant wife Saeeda Sajid Ali (35) whose delivery date was fixed by the Central Private Hospital’s Gynecology Department, but he was greeted by the hospital closure notice when he came for the check-up.

“I don’t know what to do now. We have been consulting Dr Mehrunnisa Begum, Specialist Gynecologist. Her cesarean operation is scheduled for day-after-tomorrow and I am desperately calling the doctor, managers and the 24-hour customer service number but there is no response and I am not able to get appointment in other hospitals as the delivery date has approached. To get admission in other hospitals, appointment has to be taken three months in advance,” said Sajid, who is driving his wife in his car around the city, trying to find another doctor.

Doctors working in other hospitals said the hospital has been closed but the reasons are not known.

“I have already paid Dh2,000 fee to the hospital as part of delivery package and I had to take an appointment on Thursday, but there was no response from the hospital or doctor. When I came here I found the hospital gate sealed,” said Sajjid, who has brought his mother from Pakistan to look after his wife for her second delivery. The first baby is seven years old.

“Even if the hospital is closed, the doctor should answer the call or do something to refer her to another hospital. The hospital manager said sorry and he seems to be helpless,” Sajid added. “My first baby was born in Al Qasmia Hospital and a doctor advised me to go to Central Private Hospital because it was affordable to me. Where can I go at this last minute, please do something about it,” Sajid said.

His wife is equally desperate and her delivery date was delayed to January 30 as the last day. “Everything is alright, except that the hospital where I have to deliver the baby is closed. Closing a hospital is not like closing a cafeteria or a supermarket. Hundreds of patients like me are in trouble now,” Sajid said.

“There are other gynecology patients like her, who may not get last minute admissions in leading hospitals. Delivery dates are fixed after three months of consultation and it is not possible to get appointment at the last minute. There is already a long queue in other hospitals and how can they accommodate this case,” said another doctor working in a leading private hospital.

“The premise is sealed by the Inspection Department. The penalty for removing this poster is Dh5,000,” reads an English/Arabic poster from the Sharjah Economic Department.

“The hospital has been closed for three days now. We don’t know the reasons, but many patients keep coming every day without knowing that the hospital is closed. It used to be a very busy hospital,” said an employee of an adjacent pharmacy.

“I had my MRI done here and my entire medical file is with the hospital. Nobody is answering the calls and I don’t know what to do now,” said an expatriate lady, who has been undergoing treatment at the Central Private Hospital, after a fall from a building.

“I came here to show my wife without knowing that the hospital is closed. I met several patients who had come for consultation. If there is any problem, the customer care centre should inform the patients,” said another patient.

Emirates 24|7 could not reach the hospital management for comments as their official numbers were not answered and the hospital premises are closed.

The hospital website says it is a 60-bed hospital with various departments, several doctors and other facilities.

“We are a fully comprehensive multi-specialty hospital. We provide excellent healthcare which meets international standards. With affordable prices and multi-lingual staff from the Indian subcontinent, Middle East, Britain and the Philippines we attract patients from all nationalities in the UAE and have various patients from the GCC countries and Africa who come to us or treatment,” says Dr Shakir Vali, founder of Central Private Hospital, on its website.

Its various departments includes anesthesiology, audiology, dermatology, general and gastrointestinal surgery, plastic and cosmetic surgery, urology, allergy clinic, breast clinic, dental and orthodontics, gynecology and obstetrics, pathology, cardiology, accident and emergency etc.

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