A mum and dad stranded in Turkey are seriously considering paying £51,000 for an emergency flight home – as it may end up saving them money in the long-term, with their premature newborn racking up eye-watering bills in a foreign hospital.
Louise Crawshaw-Bowen, 37, and her husband Stephen, 27, said they faced staggering hospital bills to care for son Wolfe after he was born prematurely abroad.
Rather than waiting for their newborn to be discharged, the parents said they’re seriously thinking about shelling out £51,000 for a medical flight home.
Mum-of-five Louise said: “After two days of treatment we went to see how much Wolfe’s bill was – and it was €5,550.
“After three weeks of care I dread to think what the final figure will be – it’s an extremely stressful situation.
“An emergency flight will cost a fortune as it’s a basically a private jet with a hospital inside.
“But it may be work out cheaper if Wolfe has to stay in intensive care for too much longer.”
Louise had to have an emergency caesarean section on July 25, and their son is now in intensive care to help him breathe.
The couple claimed they had a holiday insurance policy, which they thought would cover them.
But Louise said she was informed of a clause in the small print that revealed they would only cover insurance if a baby is born over eight weeks premature – which he wasn’t.
Louise, from Trowbridge, Wiltshire, 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 only been allowed to see my baby for two minutes a day – it’s heartbreaking and we need to get him home.”
Louise said she had a “fit to fly” medical note before the family left the UK for their honeymoon earlier in July.
But that took an unexpected turn when Louise was rushed to hospital in Antalya, suffering from intense bleeding and pain – aware she was going into labour.
The couple said there was an immediate “language barrier” between them, and Stephen was asked to sign an €800 bill before Louise received any treatment.
But that initial bill was one of several the couple would get – including another for €4,500 just to allow Louise to leave hospital.
And although Louise herself is now all paid up, Wolfe’s medical bills are only just beginning.
Wolfe was delivered seven-and-half weeks early, and he’s unable to breathe on his own with an infection in his lungs.
Doctors in Turkey said he could require at least another three weeks’ hospital care, and then might not be strong enough to immediately fly after that.
If that were to be the case, the couple could be facing a bill in the hundreds of thousands when combined with additional hotel costs.
The newlyweds said they might have to sell their house due to their predicament.
Louise said: “We’ve flown our three eldest home to stay with a friend -but we’ve still got our 11-month-old with us.
“A weeks extra in the hotel has cost us £1,750 but we have no choice but to keep extending it until we find a viable alternative.”
Louise has said they have looked into an emergency flight to bring Wolfe back to the UK so he can be cared for by the NHS – but the service would not come cheap.
They said they have been given an estimated price of £51,000 to get the job done, but that figure wasn’t set in stone and could increase if they encountered additional costs.
Now they’re faced with a decision on whether to pay for the emergency flight and gamble that Wolfe’s condition will not improve for some time – or wait it out in Turkey.
A family friend has started a GoFundMe for the couple which has so far raised £9,000 – but Louise feared it still wouldn’t be enough to save them from financial ruin.
She said: “Lucy Air Ambulance, an emergency flight charity, have said they’ll give us £8,000 toward the £51,000 cost but that obviously still leaves us with a mammoth bill to pay.
“We’re feeling so lost at the minute and every second that ticks by the more the money is going up – it’s a complete nightmare.”