Parents of premature Evie born in Dominican Republic may have to wait until December before they can bring her home

Sharon Halls and Daniel Compton's baby, Evie

Sharon Halls and Daniel Compton's baby, Evie - Credit: Archant

The mother of a premature baby born 12 weeks early in the Dominican Republic has said they are not expecting to travel home before December.

Sharon Halls gave birth to daughter Evie last week after an infection picked up in the country, having travelled there for a friend’s wedding, brought on early contractions.

Initially at a private hospital charging $2,500 a day for the little girl’s care, Miss Halls and partner Daniel Compton moved to a public hospital where they said the sanitation and level of care were “lacking”.

Worried for their child’s health the pair from Ipswich started a fundraising campaign in order to return to the private hospital because they had no firm guarantee their insurers (Holidaysafe, the trading name of Infinity Insurance Solutions) would pay out.

Until Evie, who is said to be progressing well, is big enough to fly home the total hospital costs for her alone could be as much as £184,000.

Miss Halls, who was given a fit to fly note before embarking on the trip to the Caribbean island, said yesterday they were still assuming the worst-case scenario for getting home.

“It is so difficult to get information backwards and forwards,” she said.

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“Until I get in writing what is going to happen with her I have been advised we will be here until December.”

Miss Halls said she felt the decision on the insurance had not come quick enough, hence the fundraising appeal which now stands at more than £70,000.

“We have had to wait a week and in her little life a week is precious,” she said.

Miss Halls also said if the insurance paid out the fundraising appeal would be closed and any money donated they “will give back in anyway we can”.

See here for Miss Halls and Mr Compton’s fundraising page.Statement from Infinity Insurance Solutions

An IIS spokesman said: “This has been a distressing case for the parents, Sharon Halls and Daniel Compton, especially as this is their first child. We always take seriously the needs of our customers and especially in a case such as this which involves the welfare of a premature baby. We have tried to assist the family in very difficult circumstances, in a country where hospital facilities and medical care can be inconsistent.

“The medical assistance team involved have been in constant contact with the family since the birth of their daughter Evie and the insurer has indicated that it will seek to reimburse the family’s costs. Reports that there is an issue with time zone differences and this has in some way affected the coverage of the policy are not correct. We are confused as to why this has become central to the stories in the press.

“Sadly, in situations where a premature birth has occurred abroad, finding the right medical facility and medical expertise can be challenging. Repatriating a premature baby also has risks due to under-developed lungs which means flying at this time is not an option.

“At no point has IIS been involved in the transfer of Evie from one clinic to another, or been asked for opinions on the hospital or clinics at which she has been treated. Evie’s parents have been deprived access to various facilities because of the actions of the original medical facilities. In all our dealings with the family, they have seemed satisfied with the service they have received and it has been very surprising to read these reports in the press.

“The chief medical officer’s opinion is that, if baby Evie’s progress continues, she and her parents will be able to return to the UK some time next month. We remain in daily contact with the immediate family to discuss Evie’s medical needs and the families accommodation arrangements. We will repatriate the family back to the UK once it is completely safe for Evie to travel.”

See update here

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