Couple have to ‘sell’ newborn baby back to hospital for £1k to pay medical bills

A couple who found themselves £356 in debt after unexpectedly having to undergo a C-section birth have claimed that their hospital asked them to sell the baby to them for £1,000 – to help settle their medical bill.

Babita Charan, 36, underwent the procedure at the cost of 30,000 Indian rupees, the Times of India reports, and afterwards required medicine costing a further 5,000 rupees.

Neither she nor her husband Shiv could afford such an expense, and so, the couple claims, the hospital instead asked them to sell their baby back to the hospital for 100,000 rupees so the hospital could put it up for adoption.

However, the JP Hospital in Trans-Yamuna, a district in eastern Delhi, has dismissed the allegations ahead of a government investigation.

A spokesperson for the hospital insisted the baby had never been "bought" but had been "given up".

"These claims are wrong. We didn't force him to give up his child. He did so of his own accord. I have a copy of the written agreement signed by the parents, expressing his willingness," they said.

Shiv claims he cannot read or write, and only signed the documents given to him with a thumb print, which is an acceptable form of signature for people in India.

He also revealed that he was going through a financial crisis at the time of the birth and makes no more than 100Rs a day, although this income is not guaranteed.

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District Magistrate Prabhu N Singh stated: "This is a serious mater. It will be investigated and suitable action taken against those found guilty."

Despite the hospital rubbishing the claims, child rights campaigners have blasted the hospital for the manner in which the agreement was reached.

Neither Shiv nor Babita were ever given any discharge papers, bills or receipts, they claim, and many activists argue any adoption of their child would therefore be illegal.

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Activist Naresh Paras went so far as to label the hospital's conduct criminal.

She told the Times of India: "Every child adoption has to be done through a procedure laid down by the Central Adoption Resource Authority.

"The hospital administration's claim of having a written agreement for adoption of a newborn holds no value.

"They have committed a crime."

A heartbroken Babita is now asking authorities to return her son to her.

"We just needed some money," she said.

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