The desperate predicament of a US couple who has been “trapped in Portugal” since May after the premature birth of their twins – one of whom sadly died – is at last looking like coming to an end.
A huge appeal via social media has finally persuaded insurers to step in and fund the couple’s special flight home.
Doctors at Lisbon’s Alfredo Costa hospital have insisted that without the medically-assisted flight, tiny Hayden Grace – still not 5 lbs (2.2 kg) – would not make it home to Jackson, New Jersey.
At first, the couple’s American insurers (Highmark) had refused to fund the €70,000 flight but some diplomatic footwork behind the scenes has saved the day. Highmark is reported to have changed its mind earlier this week, which means Kim and Fred Spratt, who arrived in Lisbon on their last leg of a “babymoon” – a holiday before they became parents – are finally leaving the capital to return to their lives at home.
“It’s great news”, Spratt has told his local paper, the Times Leader.
As we reported earlier this year, American doctors had told the Spratts in May that six-months pregnant Kim was cleared for plane flight, but after going into premature labour in Lisbon, doctors at Alfredo Costa told the couple that they should never have embarked on the ambitious two-week holiday, which involved trips to Granada, Barcelona and Seville before coming to Portugal.
The couple’s little boy – Hudson – lost his battle for life in June, “even before his parents had the joy of holding him”.
Hopes now are pinned on Hayden whose lungs and immune system are still described as “many months away” from being able to take a commercial plane flight home.
Spratt has told Times Leader that the couple are waiting for confirmation of when exactly their special flight will be arranged.