As me & my husband are getting on in age, nearing sixties; we decided to employ a Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW/maid) to assist us in our daily chores. We are both still working and getting on in age and having a FDW became a necessity. Two years on and suddenly my FDW fell ill and was hospitalized. She was diagnosed with aneurism in the brain (bulge in the wall of a blood vessel ). It was only in the hospital that we found out from our FDW that she has a history of High Blood pressure and was on medication until she came to Singapore to work and therefore stop her medication totally.

3 days after our FDW was admitted to our public hospital, we checked the cost incurred to-date and was told that it was about $3,000.00+. We were actually glad that our FDW was recovering and getting better and looked forward to her discharge. But no, from here on our NIGHTMARE began. More tests, procedures and examinations were carried out on her and on the 4th day she was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit. On the 5th day our FDW suffered a “seizure/fit” and we were informed about another procedure/surgery involving her brain region.

We told the hospital that we are not in the position to say yes or no as the procedure involving the brain carries a high risks and her family members would be more appropriate to authorize such procedures. But NO, the doctor told me that quote “I am not getting your approval but just telling you that we are going ahead with the treatment” unquote.

Then don’t ask me to pay for something decided by you. AN OPEN CHEQUE BOOK. Realizing that all these tests, procedures, surgeries and examinations would involve a substantial cost we checked with the hospital again and on the 7th day since admission , my FDW medical bill ballooned to $19,000.00+. Since that tele-conversation, the hospital has been in DIRECT contact with my FDW’s family and her family has been giving the go ahead for whatever tests, procedures, surgeries and examinations the “doctors“ deemed fit and necessary.

We checked again on the 9th day and from the 7th day till now; 2 days later; the medical bill ballooned to $26,000.00+. All this time the onus was on me the EMPLOYER to bear all cost incurred!!!! I have an insurance taken out for FDW which only covers medical up to a maximum of $15,000.00. The balance is supposed to be paid in cash by me, the employer.

We are unable to bear all these additional cost and to help in whatever way we thought possible, we approached the Ministry of Manpower, Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME), the Philippine Embassy as well as my own company’s foundation for financial assistance. But NO, not one single organization is prepared to assist; it is your problem period. The hospital has a Social services who told us that there was a similar case involving another FDW whose hospital bill amounted to $100K+. For a $100K bill, assuming my medical insurance for the FDW is $15,000 the balance $85,000.00 is my problem.

Only after we terminated the FDW’s contract and wrote to the hospital that we are unable to pay the hefty medical bill, we were then “contacted again” and informed that my FDW has another attack/seizure that nearly cost her life and the hospital revive her back which means that the medical cost now would be more than $26,000.00+. We are liable to pay all these medical bills but were not informed of all the tests, procedures, surgeries and examinations carried out since the hospital got into direct contact with the FDW family. Is this fair to me, the Employer; who is supposed to bear all the medical cost????

Can you imagine the magnitude of a Singaporean Employers’ liability- an open cheque book if your FDW falls seriously ill ??? How much does being Ethical and humanitarian worth$$$??? ( I really cannot afford such a hefty bill) Is this what we Singaporeans are subjected to, where’s our protection from the state?? How did the FDW fall through the medical checks if she did not declare her medical history?? Who is going to help us pay such hefty medial cost??? How are we ever going to retire with such hefty medical bills levied on us ?? Is there any one and or any organization that we can turn to???? PLEASE HELP!!! I am at wits end

Helpless Retiree
A.S.S. Contributor

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