Boston hospital sues Saudi prince over $3.5 million in unpaid bills for child with rare disease
A Saudi prince who promised to foot the bill for a 2-year-old patient’s treatment is now being sued for millions by Boston Children’s Hospital.
A complaint against His Royal Highness Prince Abdelilah bin Abdelaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Faisal Al Saud of Saudi Arabia and Dr. Hamdy Dawoud, the personal physician and representative for the prince, was filed this week in the federal district court of Massachusetts. It says the defendants owe $3.5 million — and growing — in unpaid medical bills for the girl whose care they agreed to sponsor in full.
The girl, whose name and other details were not given, has spinal muscular atrophy, a rare disease that affects movement and strength and requires lifelong treatment. She has been in the hospital’s care since November 2017. But since then, the prince and his representative “have paid only $750,000 toward the patient’s care despite repeated promises that additional payment will be forthcoming,” the suit reads.
That first and only payment came by check in December 2017.
CNN reached out to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia for comment and to the hospital’s lawyers for further statements but did not hear back before publication.
Boston Children’s Hospital is a “not-for-profit pediatric medical center” and a “worldwide leader in pediatric care and the treatment of complex diseases and conditions.” It offers an expensive treatment for spinal muscular atrophy: the drug Spinraza, which isn’t available in the girl’s home country. The hospital accepted the patient, who does not have health insurance in the United States, after two employees at Brigham and Women’s Hospital vouched for the prince and encouraged the arrangement.
One of them was Dr. Phillip Camp, a thoracic surgeon who “described himself as the ‘Prince’s surgeon and family friend’ ” and said, “the Prince ‘is entirely serious about paying the cost personally, and has the means,’ ” according to the court document. The other was Ramy Ibrahim, the hospital’s international patient coordinator, who “coordinates health care for the Prince’s family and friends.”
But in the many months since that initial payment, even as care was ongoing, the hospital has been unable to collect further payment despite continuous efforts by hospital officials and repeated promises that wire transfers were scheduled, according to the suit. The patient’s parents too have said the prince confirmed to them directly that the money was coming.
The situation has left the patient in limbo and the hospital stuck with mounting costs.
“As of the filing of this Complaint, the patient continues to receive inpatient care at BCH, even though, as of this date, acute inpatient care is not necessary,” the lawsuit says. “Although a transfer or discharge to assisted home care is warranted, it is highly unlikely that a rehabilitation facility or home care company will accept this patient without assurance of payment.”
The lawsuit seeks relief for breach of contract, as well as other charges, and demands a trial by jury.