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Uninsured Disabled Man Rejected from Hospitals

Family members of a disabled man expressed disgust with ’s health care system after he was rejected by several hospitals because of a lack of insurance.

Mohammad Addarwish, 41, was severely burned after coming into contact with live electricity wires. Addarwish, who cannot walk, was rushed to a number of hospitals in Beirut, including one with a specialized burns unit, but was refused treatment after staff learned he did not have .

Addarwish’s brother Hassan told The Daily Star he had spent over one hour trying to find a hospital that would provide treatment. “What can we do with him – do we throw him in the streets? He’s a human being,” Hassan shouted at a hospital in Beirut’s Achrafieh district. After a number of angry relatives gathered outside, the hospital provided first aid but was unable to keep him longer. Relatives made frantic and desperate phone calls to local politicians and hospitals, imploring them to find a way to treat Addarwish.

Although Lebanon has a reputation for having some of the best facilities in the Arab world, there are huge disparities between public and private sector services. Some 1.5 million Lebanese covered by the National Social Security Fund are entitled to receive medical treatment, but many have complained of being denied treatment. With the costs of obtaining among the highest in the region, those without insurance or who cannot afford treatment find themselves in difficulty.

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