It’s a common worry for pregnant mums travelling overseas – what if something happens and I end up in hospital with pregnancy-related problems?
Six-month pregnant Kylie Lovejoy found this out in the most awful way when she went into very premature labour while holidaying in Hawaii. Now the young Australian family are facing the horror of a million-dollar hospital bill.
Last month, Kylie and her partner Brendan Wright were celebrating their last holiday as a twosome in Hawaii when Kylie noticed she was leaking fluid. Soon the contractions started and, despite the best efforts of the local hospital in Kona, she had to be flown to Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children in Honolulu where she delivered a 1.15 kilogram baby boy on 9 June.
With the unexpected arrival of their son, Phoenix Koa, 12 weeks early, Kylie and Brendan are now in the midst of setting up a temporary home in Hawaii and looking at a potential bill of $1 million to pay for the expenses associated with their newborn’s birth.
While Kylie had travel insurance that covers any medical related costs to her, there was one major flaw they didn’t notice.
“I remember asking [the travel insurance company] to repeat the relevant clause over and over again just to be sure I had bought the right one and would be covered,” Lovejoy explains, “However, my travel insurance does not cover Baby Phoenix and his medical bills.”
Phoenix will need to remain in the NICU until September before he can return to Brisbane with his mum. The medical costs associated with taking care of little Phoenix for this amount of time is expected to top a million US dollars.
However, there is a possibility that the medical costs will be paid for by USA Health Insurance as baby Phoenix is a US citizen by birth. Kylie writes that, at this stage, “Only time will tell but things are looking positive.”
The family have a long road ahead of them but Phoenix is certainly ready to fight. “He came out a nice pink colour, breathing on his own, crying and very alert. This was a good start.” While mum hasn’t left his side, she wasn’t able to give him a proper cuddle for ten long days.
He suffered a bleed on the brain and there is a chance his prematurity might lead to disabilities such as cerebral palsy, hearing or sight problems. However, every day he is getting stronger and this is what the new parents remain focused on.
Friends of the couple have set up a YouCaring page to help raise funds for the ongoing costs the family can expect. We wish this little family all the best in the long journey ahead.
Little Phoenix’s dramatic arrival isn’t the first time an unexpected delivery has occurred overseas. A Canadian woman delivered her daughter prematurely at the exact same hospital only three years ago and was also left with a million dollar bill. And just last year a family faced a hefty bill when a mother went into labour prematurely in Bali.
What do we think Babyologists? is it ever completely safe to travel overseas when pregnant? Or it is just not worth the risk?