Singapore—Mr Jimmy Chan’s domestic helper had only been in Singapore for a few weeks when she fell gravely ill and had to be in the intensive care unit in a hospital. She was eventually flown home via medical evacuation.
Now the Chan family is left with a staggering S$180,000 bill for the treatment and repatriation of Ms Julie Ann Ubaldo Lucero, who came from the Philippines.
Mr Chan and his wife are regular salaried workers, according to Lianhe Zaobao, and have two daughters, ages 14 and 18.
Therefore, for them, Ms Lucerno’s medical bill “is not a small sum.”
The family has started crowdfunding for support, starting a page entitled “Help Julie Ann Ubaldo Lucero to Recover from Multiple Organs Failure due to Severe Blood Poisoning,” on the give.asia platform.
So far, S$84,092 has been raised. The goal is to raise S$140,000.
The family wrote that Ms Lucero, 34, is the daughter of a retired teacher and a housekeeper. She is also single.
She had started working for the Chan family on Jan 15 this year, after serving her 14-day Stay-Home notice. However, she was already “coughing, had constipation and had back and arm pain when she started work”.
Over the next two weeks, her health worsened. The Chans took her to doctors several times, but she was not getting better.
By the beginning of February, she was diagnosed with severe eczema and urinary tract infection. Ms Lucero then returned to her agency on Feb 5, and on the following day, developed a fever.
‘She was admitted to the hospital on 7 Feb 2021. The hospital did extensive blood tests, other tests and various scans to try to identify the cause of her sickness. She was admitted to ICU as her kidneys were failing and required constant dialysis, her lungs were failing and required ventilation, her liver was failing and her blood pressure was dangerously low.”
Her doctor thought she might even die on Feb 8, telling the family to “be prepared for the worst.”
“Her ICU doctor informed us to be prepared for the worst as she might passed away on 8 Feb 2021 evening,” the Chans said.
But Ms Lucerno pulled through and was given blood transfusions to get her organs to function again.
Her “blood test results came back that she was diagnosed with severe blood poisoning caused by Salmonella bacteria, resulted in severe stomach infection and severe lung infection and pneumonia,” the Chans added.
By Feb 15, her hospital bill was S$65,923.65 due to her stay at the ICU as well as the blood transfusions.
Unfortunately, Ms Lucerno was ineligible for subsidy as she is a foreign worker. Her insurance would pay up to S$30,000 of hospitalisation, as well as S$10,000 for her repatriation.
But her repatriation was estimated to cost US$50,000 (approx S$67,400), as she needed a medical team and medical equipment due to her precarious state of health.
The Chans wrote, “We, as her employers, are doing our best to ensure Julie travels smoothly on the road to recovery. We therefore are reaching out and seeking donations to help pay off the hefty sum. We are sincerely hoping that you will extend a helping hand. There is no amount considered too small. May God bless you richly with your generosity.”
Anyone who would like to help the Chan family with Ms Lucerno’s expenses may do so here.
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