Wendy Morrow’s baby wasn’t due for two more months when the pregnant mom-to-be was waiting to board a plane in Hong Kong, China. But, like many babies, Wendy’s unborn child was on his own time schedule, and Morrow went into labor before boarding.
The baby, named Kyuss, was born at a hospital in Hong Kong, China, and because of his premature status, the cost of his treatment after birth was higher than normal. In addition to the cost of birthing the baby, additional medical bills of $20,000 have been added to the mounting total of Morrow’s medical bills, and each day that the baby remains in the hospital is an additional $1,600.
But the hospital would not release Morrow’s baby, nor issue a birth certificate for the child, until Morrow paid off the hospital bills completely. So Morrow has been stuck in China, her baby basically held hostage by the Chinese hospital, unable to pay the bills while the bills themselves continue to mount daily.
“The hospital will not release his birth certificate until the hospital bill is paid in full. We need the birth certificate to get the passport to get him home,” Wendy said in an interview with Iowa’s KCAU, conducted via Skype.
Although Morrow had travel insurance, the policy won’t cover the baby because the baby’s name was not on the policy.
“How could we have put (his name) on it when the baby wasn’t even born?” Sara, sister to Wendy Morrow, asked.
Sara was with Wendy during the trip to China and has stayed with her sister and nephew.
“We don’t like having the feeling of being stuck here. The pressure is on trying to get the medical bills paid and we just want to be able to go home with the baby,” Sara told told CNN.
When the Morrow family realized the travel insurance policy would pay nothing for the baby, they reached out to the office of their congressman, and were told that Medicare/Medicaid will not cover bills from foreign hospitals.
With all options exhausted, the family set up multiple charity drives, desperately trying to raise the money needed to get the baby out of the hospital when he is ready.
Kyuss should be strong enough to be released from the hospital in less than a week, and will be fit for flying, although doctors recommended that the baby be accompanied by a medical nurse, as well as a battery-operated oxygen machine, in case the baby struggles to breathe in high altitudes.
Morrow has a 4-year-old waiting for her at home, and her sister has four children herself. Yet, Sara says, the only thing they can do is wait.
“It’s hard for both of us,” Morrow said.
The family has raised at least $11,000 to go towards paying the medical costs, but it may be that Wendy Morrow’s ordeal is coming to a close, as it is reported that the hospital in China, following unwanted media scrutiny, has said they will release the child’s birth certificate on Saturday.
As difficult and trying as this situation must be for Wendy Morrow and her family, it’s undoubtedly fortunate that her baby was born in a hospital. Click here to read about the woman who gave birth on a plane — to twin girls.
[Image by Paul Fievez / Getty Images]