A newlywed couple from England whose baby was born prematurely on their honeymoon says insurers won’t cover the costs to bring him home because the baby was two days too early for their policy.
Stephen and Louise Crawshaw-Bowen, 27 and 37 respectively, said they face staggering hospital bills to care for son Wolfe, even floating the prospect of selling their home.
Louise had to have an emergency cesarean section on July 25 and their son is now in intensive care in Turkey to help him breathe.
The couple had a vacation insurance policy which they thought would cover them, but they were informed of a clause in the small print that said they would only cover insurance if a baby is born eight weeks premature.
Wolfe was born seven weeks and five days early.
Louise, from Trowbridge, England, said: “It’s just so unfair that I sorted out insurance to cover all of this and we’re in this situation.
“We’re honestly out of options, and I’m not one to ask for help but we are desperate.
“I’ve seen my five-day-old baby for two minutes – it’s heartbreaking and we need to get him home.”
Louise Crawshaw-Bowen, SWNS/Zenger
Louise had a “fit to fly” medical note before the family left the U.K. for their honeymoon earlier in July, but that took an unexpected turn when she was taken to a hospital on July 25 in Antalya, Turkey, suffering from intense bleeding and pain – aware she was going into labor.
The couple said there was a “language barrier” between them and the staff at the hospital, when Stephen was asked to sign an 800-euro ($820) bill for treatment.
But that initial bill was one of several the couple would get – including another for 4,500 euros ($4,600) just to allow the mother to leave the hospital, which she described as “a prison,” and ongoing costs for Wolfe’s care.
Louise said: “Just two days ago we went to see how much Wolfe’s bill was – and it was 5,250 euros [$5,380].”
Wolfe was delivered seven-and-half weeks early; he is unable to breathe on his own and has an infection in his lungs.
Doctors in Turkey said he could require at least another three weeks of hospital care, and then might not be strong enough to immediately fly after that.
The newlyweds said they might have to sell their house due to their predicament.
Louise, a nail technician, was given a spinal block for the operation which she said is now giving her continuous headaches.
After being told to book accommodation and keep the invoices, the insurance company told them they were not willing to pay.
Louise Crawshaw-Bowen, SWNS/Zenger
They said it was because Bowen gave birth seven weeks and five days before her due date but if she was eight weeks or above they would have paid up.
Stephen, who has worked in the army for 11 years, said: “The insurance company are not paying out because of two days.
“It took them from Monday to Wednesday to make this decision, and it feels like from Monday to Wednesday – it feels to us – like they were trying to find a loophole to not pay the money.”
The mother-of-five added: “Before they made this decision, they were ringing us saying keep the receipts for bills, pay for an extra week at your accommodation, and we will reimburse it all back.
“Then on Wednesday they give us this news – it makes no sense at all premature births are up until 37 weeks.”
Stephen and Louise have already paid 5,000 euros ($5,125) for Louise’s hospital discharge – which they had to borrow from family – a further 5,250 euros ($5,380) for the medical bill for two days for Wolfe, and several thousand euros for accommodation.
The newlyweds expressed feelings of “anger” and “disappointment” and added they felt “let down” by the company.
Louise said her three eldest children, 14-year-old Ty, 11-year-old Daisi and 5-year-old Teddy, went back to the U.K. with her friend on Wednesday.
But the couple are staying in their accommodation, at Grand park Lara in Antalya, with their 11-month-old, Ronnie, and Wolfe – until they can get him home.
The desperate pair are looking at contacting air ambulances to get Wolfe back to the U.K., but say initial figures are looking at over 40,000 British pounds ($48,850).
A GoFundMe page, set up by the family in the U.K. to help with their costs, has already raised more than 9,600 pounds ($11,800).
Insurers have been approached for comment.
Produced in association with SWNS.
This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.