Boston Children's Hospital is suing a Saudi prince it says has reneged on a commitment to pay for the care of a baby with a rare disease that can only be treated with an incredibly expensive drug.
The girl, now about two, has spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic disease that affects muscle strength and movement. According to the hospital's suit, filed in US District Court in Boston today, Prince Abdelilah bin Abdelaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Faisal Al
Saud read about her case and agreed to pay for her treatment at Children's with Sprinraza - a drug so expensive that since her being admitted in November, 2017, her care has cost more than $4 million.
The hospital identifies the girl as "Jane Doe" and says she is not American, but otherwise does not identify her or her parents.
The hospital says the prince did make an initial $750,000 payment - in the form of a check handed over by the prince's Egyptian-born doctor, Hamdy Dawoud, also named in the suit. But since then, the prince and doctor have refused repeated entreaties and then demands from the hospital for additional payments - even after the prince visited the girl in the hospital on a visit to Boston and promised to make good on his debt, but, the hospital says, managed to slip out without paying anything.
The prince visits Boston regularly for care at Brigham and Women's Hospital - and Children's says it agreed to take the baby as a patient in part because of assurances from doctors and officials at Brigham and Women's.
Ramy Ibrahim, an International Patient Coordinator at BWH, stated that the “reason [he is] involved is because the guarantor is a member of the Saudi Royal family (a patient of [BWH]) and he will be the one paying for [Jane Doe’s] treatment.” A Senior Director at BWH, Kerin Howard, later explained to [a Children's official] that Ibrahim, at the Prince’s request, coordinates health care for the Prince’s family and friends.
Dr. Camp, a thoracic surgeon at BWH, described himself as the “Prince’s surgeon and family friend,” and told Saul that he is also involved in helping to coordinate care at the Prince’s request. He stated that the Prince pledged to pay for the patient’s care and explained that the Prince “is entirely serious about paying the cost personally, and has the means.”
Children's says the girl remains at the hospital. She is now doing well enough she no longer needs intensive care, but without a guarantee of payment, no less costly rehab hospital would take her.