Health

New Jersey Couple And Newborn Daughter, Stranded In Portugal Nearly Four Months, To Return Home Soon

| by Jared Keever

A New Jersey couple, stuck in Portugal for nearly four months after the premature birth of their first child, may soon be home. 

Kim Spratt was six months pregnant with twins in May when she and her husband, Fred Spratt, received clearance from Kim’s doctor to travel to Portugal, ABC News reports. 

“The doctor gave me 100 percent clearance, and we got total reassurance,” Kim told the Asbury Park Press. “We even got a letter for the airline in case there were any problems.”

A week into their vacation, Kim went into labor. She delivered her twins May 10.

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The couple’s son, Hudson, weighed only 1 pound 12 ounces at birth and died two weeks later, the Press reports. His sister, Hayden, weighed 1 pound 7 ounces.

Kim told the Press her daughter is healthy but the experience has been trying. 

“Losing our son has made it that much more difficult,” she said. “There are days when we look at each other and start crying. After Hudson passed, all our hopes and faith were resting on the shoulders of Hayden, a 1 pound baby that was very, very sick. That's a lot of pressure. Basically, our lives were resting on her — her health, her getting better. She shouldn't have lived, but she made it through.”

Now, doctors say Hayden is now strong enough to fly home to New Jersey, but not on a commercial flight. 

The family, still in Portugal, needs a medically equipped plane to fly Hayden home but they have reportedly had problems getting their insurance company, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, to pay for the expensive flight. 

It seems that changed as of Sept. 1. 

Fred had told the Press earlier this week his insurance company was telling him the flight was “not a medical necessity because (Hayden) can stay in Portugal and get treatment.”

Although Highmark originally declined to comment on the Spratt’s case, company spokesman Aaron Billger told ABC on Sept. 1 the insurer would be paying for the flight. 

“We were able to reach Mr. Spratt. Based on a review of the member’s case, we have made the decision to cover the requested medical transportation service,” Billger said. “We are pleased that the family will be returning home in mid-September.”

That means the family now has little time to prepare for their trip home. Their Portuguese visas reportedly expire in a few weeks, which means a trip home would come at the right time.

“We just want to have a normal life like any other parent has with their newborn,” she said. 

Sources: ABC News, Asbury Park Press / Photo credit: Family photo via ABC News