SINGAPORE: A Singaporean couple has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Give.asia to cope with the escalating hospital bills for their premature baby, Gaw Jun Chen. Born at an extremely early gestational age of 25 weeks, Jun Chen weighed only 590g and was immediately admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH).
Premature infants often require specialized care, and Jun Chen is expected to stay in the hospital for an extended period, typically around four months, unless complications arise. With the substantial financial burden posed by the mounting medical expenses, the couple turned to Give.asia to seek assistance.
The baby’s father, customer service officer Mr Gaw Chee Hoe, expressed concerns about the heightened risks and complications associated with Jun Chen’s lower-than-average weight for a 25-week premature baby. The challenges are further intensified by the underdeveloped hearts and lungs common in premature infants.
Jun Chen’s journey began unexpectedly when his mother, Ms Lim Lee Yue, experienced intense headaches on December 25, 2023. Diagnosed with severe preeclampsia—a condition characterized by high blood pressure and elevated protein levels in the urine—the couple faced a critical decision regarding the delivery of the baby.
The couple initially hesitated to opt for an emergency Caesarean section at 25 weeks but eventually chose this route to safeguard both Ms Lim and Jun Chen’s lives. Although the immediate danger has passed, the couple now confronts the uncertainties of Jun Chen’s day-to-day condition and the prolonged NICU stay.
Acknowledging the emotional toll, Mr Gaw described the experience as “a mixture” of emotions, ranging from happiness to worry. They praised the support received from their social worker at KKH, Ms Seah Enqi, who reassured them that Jun Chen’s premature birth was not their fault.
The pressing concern for the couple is the duration of Jun Chen’s hospital stay and the associated expenses. The estimated cost initially projected by the hospital was S$330,070, potentially escalating to nearly S$390,000 if complications arise. After government subsidies, the anticipated bill is between S$150,000 and S$170,000.
Desperate for assistance, Mr Gaw discovered Give.asia as a platform for fundraising and promptly initiated a campaign on January 3. The couple has already raised S$12,000 towards their S$170,000 goal. The funds collected through the campaign will be directed to KKH to alleviate the financial burden on the family.
Interestingly, the Gaw family is not the first to have turned to crowdfunding on Give.Asia to manage the mounting expenses after having delivered a premature baby.
In November, a mother working in Singapore also turned to the Give.Asia community in a desperate plea for help as the medical bills for her premature twin babies surged to over $150,000.