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Dad pleads for help after frail newborn, wife rack up huge hospital bill

Family face spiralling crisis after baby son born at 28 weeks, weighing just 765 grams

Image Credit: Courtesy:DHA
A desperate Henniric Castro reaching out to touch his 10-day-old baby boy, who is in intensive care at Latifa Hospital. The baby is too fragile to be picked up.
Gulf News

Dubai: A Filipino father whose wife has been hospitalised and premature newborn baby is in intensive care and in search of help.

Six years ago, Henniric Castro and his wife, Maria, faced their first tragedy — the death of their unborn child, which would have been their first.

Doctors had diagnosed his wife with severe pre-eclampsia, a complication where the mother’s blood pressure increases and damages organs, often the kidneys.

Then, in July this year, they were overjoyed when his wife announced she was pregnant again.

On December 30, 2016, just 28 weeks into her pregnancy — two months before the expected date — his wife complained of dizziness and headache. Her feet had also started to swell.

Castro rushed her to Latifa Hospital in Dubai, where she was admitted. The medical team noticed her baby’s heartbeat fading away.

To save both the mother and the baby, doctors performed an emergency caesarean.

Doctors have ordered that the baby stay in the neonatal intensive care unit for a 45-day period. Castro’s wife is also currently in hospital with the same symptoms.

“I cried when I first saw him,” said Castro. “Both arms and legs were very thin, eyes were covered, and he was pale in colour.”

His frail newborn son, who they have named Hendelson Matthew, weighed only 765 grams at the time of birth. To add to their woes, the baby is too fragile to be held.

Castro, who has lived in Dubai for six years, is the family’s sole breadwinner. He works as an assistant engineer and earns a salary of just Dh5,000 per month.

His wife had to stop working on the advice of her doctor.

Now, as well as worrying day and night about the health of his wife and baby, he faces an growing intensive care bill of Dh3,500 per day. The figure does not include lab tests, medicines and professional fees.

Castro is not sure how much longer he can hold on. He is currently waiting for the hospital to update him on his bills. He has asked his company for help, which has agreed to pay for some of the cost of keeping the baby in the incubator.

Charities have not helped either.

“I’ve checked with some non-profit organisations, but I haven’t received any response. I just want some financial assistance,” he told Gulf News.

“I don’t expect anyone to give the money directly. If anybody can go to Latifa Hospital, and just donate something. Any amount will do.”