A British couple had their stay in Singapore inexplicably extended after their child was born prematurely — 15 weeks before it was due.
Chloe Wilkinson and her partner Patraic Walsh-Kavanagh had been waiting for a connecting flight back home to the UK from a trip in Australia, excited to tell their parents about their surprise pregnancy, Daily Mail reported. The couple had discovered that they were expecting a child back in November 2018 while they were in Australia.
But during a two-day layover in Singapore last month, Wilkinson went into labor — just 24 weeks of being pregnant. The 30-year-old was rushed to the hospital after experiencing bleeding and cramps on Feb 19. Tests revealed that she had an infection, and when she started dilating, there was no way she could make the connecting flight back home.
A week later on Feb 26, she gave birth to baby Lorcan. Being prematurely born, the boy weighs a mere 0.86kg and remains warded in the Singapore General Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit.
In no state at all to fly back to the UK, doctors told the couple that Lorcan would not be fit enough to travel for at least three months. The couple will have to remain in Singapore with their child, and according to Daily Mail, they’re currently living in a shared flat close to the hospital.
“Everyday I go into the hospital I get a knot in my stomach waiting to hear the update from the intensive care team about Lorcan’s progress and condition as he’s still in a critical condition,” Wilkinson told the British publication.
The big issue they’re facing now is, of course, coming up with the money to pay for the hefty (and rising) hospital bills with no way of supporting themselves at all.
According to Walsh-Kavanagh, he was handed an estimated bill of £140,000 (S$251,300) for the costs of hospitalization, delivery, and intensive care. This, assuming that there aren’t any further complications with Wilkinson or their son.
Though Wilkinson and Walsh-Kavanagh took on travel insurance, it does not cover pregnancy. Being tourists in Singapore without employment visas, they’re unable to work here to support themselves. Since they’re not Singaporean citizens, hospitalization costs aren’t subsidized too.
“These days are terrifying for us as new parents and the whole situation is extremely daunting, even more so being in a foreign country where we know nobody, are unable to get work permits for extra income and are having to use our savings to get by on a day to day basis,” said Walsh-Kavanagh. “We have been in contact with the British embassy but they were unable to assist us in any way, shape or form,” mentioned the 27-year-old. Walsh-Kavanagh is now worried that the baby’s visa in Singapore could run out after 42 days.
The couple is currently surviving on money they raised from working in Australia, but clearly, the amount remains monumental. Walsh-Kavanagh’s sister, Aoife-Lourdes Valentino, has since launched a crowdfunding campaign on Gofundme to raise the money needed to support the baby’s medical care. Since the campaign launched on Feb 20, £56,789 has been gathered out of the £142,000 goal as of writing.
In another crowdfunding campaign set up on Give.Asia, over S$177,000 has been contributed.