The MedLifeClinics Rip-Off of Dr. Mohamed Kilany in Safaga (Egypt)

If you get sick in Amwaj Blue Beach Resort, Abu Soma or other hotels in the area (e.g. Lotus Bay Resort, Safaga) near Safaga or Abu Soma (Red Sea, Egypt) you might be quickly in the hands of MedLifeClinics. MedLifeClinics runs small medical posts at various hotels and has a larger doctor's office at Safaga Rd., opposite Lotus Bay Resort. What is called "Clinic" are two rooms and some basic medical equipment to treat simple injuries and illnesses. The head of this operation is Dr. Mohamed Kilany (arab).

I was so unfortunate to have an accident that required surgery. So I was transported to Hurghada to be treated there. After surgery, I passed 4 days in Kilany's "clinic". All treatments and investigations were done by external contractors since Kilany has little own facilities. Fortunately, the medical treatment was successful thanks to the job the external doctors carried out.

The unpleasant part started when it came to paying the bill. Kilany promises "free treatment" in his flyer, probably meaning that he settles costs with the insurance companies directly. However, Kilany successfully kept the insurance out since he could more easily overcharge me than the insurance company. What happened was:

  1. Although Kilany got the address of my insurance 4 days before departing from the clinic, he failed to contact it.
  2. Kilany then lied and told me that the insurance had told him that I needed to show an insurance card (which does not exist).
  3. After I insisted, Kilany finally called the insurance company but gave them a wrong e-mail address. The company could not send him the documents related to reimbursement in time.
  4. Kilany finally presented an invoice of 8446 Euros to me and demanded immediate payment. This was a few hours before my departure from Egypt. He collaborated with the hotel reception of Amwaj hotel and I feared that my taxi might not come the next morning if I did not pay.
  5. Kilany lied again when he said that the costs charged are endorsed by all major European insurance companies (including mine) and are listed as allowances of all insurance companies. According to my insurance, no such lists exist.
  6. The insurance told me that the invoice was overpriced by a factor of at least three (see also below). A CT scan for 600 Euros or a hospital room for 700 Euros are very expensive, actually more than in most European countries. The insurance also complained that taxes were calculated incorrectly: 12.5% instead of 10%, and so on.

At MedLifeClinics, all the staff were young doctors from Cairo in a kind of internship at this "clinic". These were the ones who looked after me in a very caring way. The day after I had left, 2 of those doctors quit their job and searched for a new one. They told me that they no longer wanted to be part of this system.

What can one do?

Medical rip-offs and scams are not uncommon in certain popular (southern) tourist destinations. People have even reported that unnecessary surgery has been carried out just to drive costs. See, for example in English: 1 or in German: 1 2

What I recommend is:
  1. Contact your insurance company before you travel to get addresses of good doctors and clinics. My insurance told me that they have contracted doctors in Hurghada who would have done the treatment for much lower costs (and hassle free).
  2. Get the phone number of your embassy so that they can help you out when scammers get aggressive and threaten to prevent you from travelling home if you do not pay, etc.
  3. Try hard to contact your insurance before the bill is presented. The insurance will help you in their own interest.

The end of this story is that although the normal Egyptian is a very nice and helpful person, tourism and the associated prospect of huge profits unfortunately generates such phenomena.

A word on costs

A few years ago, we needed services in a hospital in India after an accident. Two surgeries were done in the best hospital in South India, a western-style top institution. The final costs were below 500 Euros.

Even in Germany medical services are cheaper. Example: Surgery of an organ and 4 day in a hospital including a lot of analytics cost 4220 Euros in the year 2009.

How can a much simpler service in a country with a salary level not much above India (a doctor in a Cairo hospital barely earns 100 Euros per month) cost 8400 Euros?

For any feedback email me.

28 Jan 2013

German Version of this page