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Premature Baby Born In S'pore Relies On Machine To Breathe, Parents Start Fundraiser For Medical Fees

Parents Start Fundraiser To Pay For Bills For Premature Baby Born At 23 Weeks

Yesterday (2 Nov), we reported on a pair of premature twins born with heart defects, racking up hospital bills that their parents needed donations to cover.

Another similar and equally unfortunate story occurred recently. A woman gave birth to a premature baby at just 23 weeks old.

Her baby, Yong Chen, weighed just 670g at birth and has underdeveloped vital organs. He also requires a machine to help him breathe.

With his hospital bills mounting to over S$350,000, little Yong Chen’s parents are resorting to starting a fundraiser to collect donations for his medical needs.

Woman gave birth at just 23 weeks

Lee Min Chien, a 36-year-old hairstylist, came to Singapore from Malaysia and has been working here for the past 10 years. During that time, she became a Permanent Resident (PR) of Singapore.

Shin Min Daily News reported that Ms Lee married 34-year-old Ng Wan Man in May 2022. Mr Ng worked in Malaysia in the farming business.

Source: Shin Min Daily News

About a year later in May 2023, Ms Lee became pregnant. She expressed great joy at the news, especially because it was harder to conceive at her age.

According to her Give.Asia fundraiser, she planned to return to Malaysia for delivery after 28 weeks of pregnancy.

Things took an unexpected turn, however, on 7 Oct, when she began experiencing labour pains and bleeding. With her husband still in Malaysia, she contacted a friend who rushed her to the hospital.

At KK Hospital, she gave birth naturally to a premature baby boy, whom she named Ng Yong Chen.

Source: Shin Min Daily News on Facebook

Baby requires ventilator to breathe

Yong Chen emerged into this world at just 23 weeks old, a far cry from the usual 40 weeks of pregnancy. As such, he weighed only 670g.

While the time in the womb allowed for the full development of his appearance, the same could not be said about his internal organs.

Source: Give.Asia

Ms Lee explained that many of his organs, including his brain and lungs, remain underdeveloped. Since Yong Chen is unable to breathe on his own, doctors have to hook him up to a ventilator for respiration.

The hospital admitted him to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) immediately after birth. Doctors estimated that Yong Chen needed to remain there for at least 120 to 200 days.

Ms Lee currently remains in postpartum confinement, while her husband also visits their baby every day. Yong Chen remains inside an incubator, and the couple expressed their emotional pain in only being able to watch from outside.

Source: Give.Asia

Mother can’t give birth for another two years

According to an update two days ago, Yong Chen’s weight has increased to 785g and his milk intake nearly quintupled. However, he still requires a machine to breathe.

Ms Lee said that the doctors warned of condition fluctuations, but she held hope that he would progress towards recovery.

Source: Give.Asia

She told Shin Min that they initially planned to have one more child. However, doctors informed her that after this premature birth, she could not get pregnant for another two to three years.

Even after that, Ms Lee may face the problem of premature birth again.

Parents start fundraiser for premature baby

Unfortunately, the distressed parents faced another major obstacle. The intensive treatment racked up tremendous medical expenses, estimated at S$550,000.

Source: Ms Lee via Give.Asia

Using her limited subsidies and MediSave, the approximate bill was lowered to around S$350,000.

As Mr Ng worked in farming, his low income could not help to cover the costs, nor could Ms Lee’s.

Due to this, the couple took to the crowdfunding site Give.Asia and appealed for donations to ease their financial burden and pay for Yong Chen’s treatment.

At the time of writing, the fundraiser for their premature baby has raised over S$25,000 out of the S$350,000 goal.

Those interested in contributing can do so via the Give.Asia crowdfunding site. “Every bit of your kindness is truly appreciated,” Ms Lee wrote in the update.

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Featured image adapted from Shin Min Daily News on Facebook and Lee Min Chien via Give.Asia.

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