New Jersey Couple Stuck in Portugal for 3 Months After Premature Birth

PHOTO:New Jersey residents Kim and Fred Spratt have been stuck in Portugal since May, following a premature birth.PlayCourtesy of Kim and Fred Spratt
WATCH US Couple Stuck in Portugal 3 Months After Premature Birth

A New Jersey couple is stranded in Portugal after giving birth to their first child, caught between medical regulations, insurance costs and visa stipulations.

But the insurance company said Tuesday afternoon it agreed to help and said the family should be home later this month.

Doctors cleared Kim and Fred Spratt to travel in May, when Kim was six months pregnant with twins.

But one week into the vacation, Kim went into labor. The couple’s newborn son, Hudson, did not survive. Their daughter, Hayden, weighed 1 pound, 8 ounces at birth.

More than three months later, the family remains in Portugal, nearly 3,500 miles from home. Doctors say Hayden is now healthy enough to fly home, but not on a commercial fight. She needs a medically equipped plane, something the Spratts say their insurance carrier has refused to pay.

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

The family’s insurer, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, initially declined to comment on the case because of privacy laws, but said Tuesday afternoon it would pay for the trip.

"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," said spokesman Aaron Billger. We are pleased that the family will be returning home in mid-September."

The Spratts’ visa may only allow them to stay in the country for a few more weeks.

“They are at their wits end,” Kim Spratt's mother said. “They don’t know where else to turn.”

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