UK

British Couple And Premature Baby Stranded In New York Have Hospital Fees Covered

03/01/2015 12:34 GMT | Updated 03/01/2015 13:59 GMT

A British couple stranded in New York after their son was born 11 weeks prematurely will no longer have to pay the expected six-figure medical bill for his care, a close friend has said.

Katie Amos, 30, and Lee Johnston, 29, are "hugely relieved" that the cost of the hospital stay for baby Dax, who weighs just 3lb (1.4kg), is now being covered after fears they faced a possible £130,000 bill.

The couple from Burgh-le-Marsh, Lincolnshire, have been told they cannot return safely to the UK until Dax's original due date in March following his unexpected arrival on December 28 during a Christmas break.

babby

Katie Amos and Lee Johnston

Close friend Richard Crow, who set up a fundraising appeal which has raised nearly £7,500 to help the couple with living costs, said today: "I spoke last night with (Katie and Lee) and they told me the medical bills are being taken care of.

"I understand the hospital made a statement saying they are working with their travel insurers to make sure they don't have to pay anything.

"They are hugely relieved, absolutely. They're just overwhelmed by all the support.

"They are all doing very well. Dax is one thing that they don't have to worry about - he's being well cared for."

Mr Johnston, a self-employed personal trainer, and Miss Amos, a fitness instructor, are currently staying in affordable accommodation offered by the Ronald McDonald House Charities near the Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.

A Facebook page supporting the appeal called Dax's Tale of New York was originally set up to raise awareness among friends of the couple but has received worldwide attention.

Money raised will go towards covering the cost of the couple's rent and bills in the UK as well as living costs in New York so they can stay near their son.

"We're going to continue fundraising to help cover expenses that they incur over there and also back home," Mr Crow said.

"The Ronald McDonald charity has been amazing, everyone has been really kind.

"We never realised this charity was there and any excess money that isn't used will go to that charity."

Responding to criticism on Facebook that donors thought they were helping towards medical costs and not living expenses, Mr Crow said: "The appeal was only ever to raise money for their living costs, we never intended to raise money for the medical bills.

"I have offered on the Facebook page to refund anyone who feels they were misled but I have had no messages so far.

"The criticism has only come from people who haven't actually donated."

In a short video clip posted online to mark the new year, Mr Johnston told friends back in Britain: "Sadly we cannot be with you this year but we thought we would make a video message just to show how appreciative we are of the support we are getting."