Boston Children’s Hospital sues Saudi Prince for $3.5 million in medical bills
Boston Children’s Hospital is suing a Saudi Arabian prince for $3.5 million in medical bills for a child whose care he offered to pay for.
Prince Abdelilah bin Abdelaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Faisal Al Saud is being sued for allegedly dodging charges related to a two-year-old Saudi girl.
The little girl suffers from type 1 spinal muscular atrophy, a rare and devastating genetic movement disorder and her family could not afford the treatment, which was only available in the US.
Her ongoing treatment has cost about $4 million, and yet the prince has not made good on his heroic promise to pay up the full sum, according to the lawsuit Boston Children’s Hospital filed against him on Tuesday.
Boston Children’s Hospital (pictured) is suing a Saudi Prince for $3.5 million in medical bills after he allegedly got a two-year-old girl with a movement disorder admitted on the promise he would sponsor her care – but since November 2017, he’s only paid $750,000
The Prince – as he is referred to throughout the lawsuit – and his personal physician agreed to sponsor the patient, who was only admitted to Boston Children’s in light of that agreement, the suit says.
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a rare genetic disease that strikes about one in every 6,000 babies born.
In the past, SMA was considered often fatal to children by around this little girl’s age – two years old – but it’s now thought of as a disease on a spectrum, and some patients may live long and relatively independent lives, while others may have poorer prognoses.
People with the disease are born without a protein that keeps motor neurons – nerve cells that carry messages from the brain through the spinal cord to control muscles – from dying off.
SMA tends to affect the muscles close to the body’s core – like the shoulders, hips and thighs – most dramatically.
With the mildest forms, patients may simply be weak in those areas.
At its most severe, the disease can disable the muscles required for breathing and swallowing.
The only FDA-approved treatment for the SMA, Spinraza, was given the agency’s green light in 2016.
Spinraza is one of the most expensive drugs in the world, at $125,000 an injection.
Children and adults should receive six injections the first year of treatment, for a total of $750,000. The treatment is estimated to cost $350,000 every year thereafter.
The drug is not available in Saudi Arabia.
So far, the two-year-old’s injections and other care has racked up $4 million and counting, since she was admitted in November 207, the hospital’s lawsuit claims.
According to the court document, the Prince and his alleged personal physician and ‘agent,’ Dr Hamdy, have paid just $750,000 of the little girl’s mounting medical bills.
‘[Boston Children’s Hospital] has continued to care for this patient at great expense and burden to BCH. BCH seeks immediate payment of all unpaid bills with interest to allow it to continue serving Jane Doe and the other patients in its care,’ the suit says.
And it continues to do so, but time is running out before the Prince will have to pay up or face the jury trial the hospital demanded in the lawsuit.