Penniless American in UAE gets Dh230,000 hospital bill waived

Anjana Sankar /Abu Dhabi Filed on June 23, 2017 | Last updated on June 23, 2017 at 07.25 am
Penniless American in UAE gets Dh230,000 hospital bill waived
Alan Clair Himes

(Anjana Sanjar/Khaleej Times)

With no funds or family to support him, Himes has been living in a room in Sharjah, Rolla, thanks to a kind-hearted family.

A homeless 70-year-old American, who has been living on charity in Sharjah, can finally hope to fly home as a private hospital has waived off his medical bills to the tune of Dh230,000.

Alan Clair Himes had racked up the massive bill while under treatment for a broken back and hip at the Universal Hospital in Abu Dhabi between February and June 2016.

With no funds or family to support him after he was discharged, Himes has been living in a room in Sharjah, Rolla, thanks to a kind-hearted family.

"It is good news that I finally have the freedom to go. But to go where and do what? I have no family in the US and I don't have a penny with me. I am in God's hands," said Himes fighting tears.

Himes, who still has several health issues, said he came to the UAE in January 2015 to set up a startup along with a partner. The man claims he had invested all his savings and pension in the business, but lost everything.

"Hardly a month in Abu Dhabi, I found myself in terrible pain and unable to move from my bed. My business partner abandoned me in the hospital. I wanted to find a job to be able to pay the bills. But no one was willing to hire me because I was above 65."

Himes reached Dubai with the help of a kind soul and approached St Mary's Catholic Church for help.

"I am alive because of the church. A family gives me food every month, and that is how I have been surviving. My room rent is due next week and I don't know how to pay,"

Himes was stranded in the UAE due to the unpaid hospital bills and a travel ban imposed by the hospital.

Now, with Universal Hospital stepping in to help, Helmes can finally fly home. The hospital management has also promised to sponsor his flight ticket.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Dr. Shabeer Nellikodu, Managing Director of Universal Hospital, said the hospital has decided to waive off Himes' bills purely on humanitarian grounds.

"We had discharged him on the assurances that his business partner/sponsor would pay. We never heard from the patient for more than a year. It was the St Mary's Catholic Church that alerted us last month about Himes' plight, and we stepped in to help the old man," said Nellokodu.

Himes, who is awaiting clearance from his embassy, said he is counting on hope. "My situation now is much better but bleak nonetheless. I wish this would not happened to anybody."


Anjana Sankar

Anjana Sankar is a UAE-based journalist chasing global stories of conflict, migration and human rights. She has reported from the frontlines of the wars in Yemen and Syria and has extensively written on the refugee crisis in Bangladesh, Iraq and Europe. From interviewing Daesh militants to embedding with the UAE army in Yemen, and covering earthquakes, floods, terrorist attacks and elections, she has come out scathe-free from the most dangerous conflict zones of the world. Riding on over 14 years of experience, Anjana currently is an Assistant Editor with Khaleej Times and leads the reporting team. She often speaks about women empowerment on her Facebook page that has 40,000 plus followers.

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