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OFWs offer to raise funds for distressed DH with $51k hospital bill

17 July 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao

They may not have much, but what many OFWs have is a heart of gold, as Melinda's case shows
Filipino domestic helpers who were moved by the story of a dismissed maid who was being billed $51,000 for five days of confinement at Queen Elizabeth Hospital are offering to raise funds for her.

The workers agreed to start the fundraising after reading a report by The SUN about the plight of Melinda (not her real name), who had been hospitalized due to fever, bleeding and dizziness caused by low hemoglobin levels in her blood.

They felt sorry for Melinda, who was sacked by her employer in Tuen Mun on Jun 30, and two days before she was supposed to go to Immigration to extend her visa on Jul 14, fell ill and had to be taken to hospital.

Pindutin para sa detalye

They said somebody should set up a charity to collect cash donations as soon as possible. It would be easy to collect, as most of them have Wechat or Alipay accounts, they added.

The SUN relayed to Melinda her fellow helpers’ good intentions and she was overjoyed.

“Naghalong saya at luha ang aking pagkabigla. Hindi ko po inaasahan ito. Sobra-sobrang tulong na po ito sa akin. Hindi ko po mapapantayan ang lahat ng mga kabutihan ninyo pong lahat sa akin,” Melinda said in a message.
“Nawa’y pagpalain po kayong lahat ng Poong Maykapal. Salamat po sa mga kapwa ko pong OFW, di ko man po kayong mapangalanan lahat. Thank you po at mabuhay po kayong lahat,” she added.

However, she said she does not have a Wechat or Alipay account as she goes to a remittance shop to send money home.

What she has is a TNG account, which she has not been able to use because she does not know how to change the number, as well as an ATM account, she said.
Melinda was billed $51k at Queen Elizabeth, as she was deemed no longer entitled to free public health care

Melinda was diagnosed with low red blood corpuscles and pelvic infection at Queen Elizabeth. She was discharged on Thursday after a series of clinical procedures, laboratory tests, and treatment.
But she was given the hefty bill and not supplied the medicines she needed because, accordingly, she no longer held a working visa. While she was in hospital, her 14-day visa extension lapsed and she was able to apply for an extension today.

A fellow domestic helper, Marian Lumido, suggested the crowdfunding.

“Baka puwede tayong makatulong kung ilan lahat tayo dito na OFW para makalikom siya. Puwede namang ipasa sa Wechat kahit tig-$1 or $2 eh. Mahigit 200,000 naman tayong lahat na Filipino DH dito,” Lumido said.

“Kahit magkano lang po, ipasa sa Wechat. Nakakaiyak naman po,” she added.

Other commenters agreed, saying they could do charity work to help other fellow helpers who are in trouble. “Sino ba ang magtutulungan kung di tayu-tayo lang,” said a worker.

The helpers are eager to pitch in even just small amounts, such as $5 or $10, which they said would add up to cover the bill.

However, Melinda has already applied for a waiver of her hospital bill at the instruction of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, so she probably will have no need to take up the generous offer of her fellow OFWs.

But their kindheartedness is enough to help her regain strength, and move on to a new employer who has already agreed to take her in.

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