Fight to bring premature baby Lily home

01:40, Jul 24 2013
Baby lily, premature Kiwi baby in China
BABY LILY: Being treated at Shanghai Children's Medical Centre.

A former Christchurch family with a sick baby daughter born prematurely in China are seeking help to bring her home.

Lily Helen Hewgill was born unexpectedly during transit through Shanghai on Friday, July 19, after 27 weeks gestation, weighing just 990 grams.

The baby is being treated at Shanghai Children's Medical Centre, battling through an infection and underdeveloped internal organs.

Parents Amy and Greg Hewgill, who moved from Christchurch to Auckland two years ago, say they are struggling to cope with the Chinese healthcare scheme and they want to return to New Zealand as soon as possible.

"In the Chinese health system, as parents we have high responsibilities but few rights," the couple wrote on a blog named Help Bring Lily Home.

"We cannot visit Lily except by extra special permission on a one-time basis (we have seen her once since birth). However, we are responsible for buying and supplying anything she needs beyond what the government supplies."

The couple said their problems were compounded by the fact that they cannot speak or read Chinese and do not understand what is happening to their little girl.

It is understood the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing support and is trying to hurry emergency travel documents. Lily does not yet have travel documents to say she is a New Zealand citizen.

The Hewgills say they want to evacuate Lily to New Zealand as soon as possible but say it is going to cost at least US$200,000 for the flight. They are seeking donations.

They say their travel insurance is helping but will not cover Lily's expenses.

Amy Hewgill
FUNDS NEEDED: Amy Hewgill is appealing for help to bring her sick daughter home to New Zealand.

"We are contacting every resource we can think of to help,'' they say.

"This is the hardest thing for us to ask for. Anything and everything will help save her life."

The couple are also seeking support and a place to stay for Amy in Shanghai.

Amy is the co-founder of the In Stitches group of knitters.