UK couple seek $250k to return home with son born prematurely

Ms Chloe Wilkinson and her partner, Mr Patraic Walsh-Kavanagh, were on a two-day layover in Singapore, and she had to be rushed to the hospital to give birth when she was just 24 weeks pregnant.
Ms Chloe Wilkinson and her partner, Mr Patraic Walsh-Kavanagh, were on a two-day layover in Singapore, and she had to be rushed to the hospital to give birth when she was just 24 weeks pregnant. PHOTO: GOFUNDME

Baby, now in intensive care, has to remain in S'pore for 3 more months before he can travel

A British couple are looking to raise more than £140,000 (S$250,000) to take their baby, who was born prematurely in Singapore, home to Britain.

Ms Chloe Wilkinson, 30, and her partner Patraic Walsh-Kavanagh, 27, were in Singapore for a two-day layover on their way home from Australia when she went into labour on Feb 19, the BBC reported.

She was 24 weeks pregnant when she was rushed to the hospital.

Their son, Lorcan, was born on Feb 26, weighing just 0.86kg.

The couple have been told they have to stay in Singapore for three more months before the baby, now in intensive care, is well enough to travel, the report said.

The British broadcaster said the couple have been handed a £140,000 medical bill, which is not covered by the travel insurance they took out before setting off on their trip to Asia in December 2017.

The Singapore General Hospital, where their baby has been warded, confirmed the amount reported. But it said that this is the estimated bill, which is subject to changes.

Babies born prematurely are typically hospitalised in the intensive care unit, before being transferred to a high dependency ward and then finally to the ordinary ward, The Straits Times understands.

As their travel insurance does not cover pregnancy, the couple are trying to raise money through a GoFundMe campaign, with a target of £142,000. As of yesterday, they have raised more than £50,000.

The couple had worked in Victoria, Australia, after travelling around Asia, the BBC said.

They were on their way home to Britain to surprise their parents with the news of Ms Wilkinson's pregnancy when she was rushed to the hospital in Singapore.

She had been experiencing bleeding and cramps, British newspaper The Mirror reported.

Mr Walsh-Kavanagh told the BBC that Ms Wilkinson was found to have an infection after undergoing numerous tests in the hospital. She was given antibiotics and medication to reduce contractions and prolong labour, to give their baby the best chance of survival, he said.

Ms Wilkinson told the BBC: "Lorcan's been fighting with all his might and we are bursting with pride at the strength he is showing so far. However, we are on our own, a 14-hour flight away from our family and friends, and it has been a very difficult start to parenthood while Lorcan remains in hospital."

In a Facebook post yesterday, Ms Wilkinson thanked netizens for their support and said: "Baby Lorcan is now two weeks old and continuing to show great strength. All the beautiful messages and well wishes are keeping us positive in order to help him to grow."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2019, with the headline 'UK couple seek $250k to return home with son born prematurely'. Print Edition | Subscribe