Couple’s Insurance Company Refuses to Pay for Lifesaving Surgery for Baby Born With Trisomy 18

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   May 18, 2016   |   5:46PM   |   Washington, DC

Before he was born, the Michigan baby was diagnosed with Trisomy 18, an often fatal genetic disorder that causes babies to have an extra chromosome. Jonah survived the womb and was born prematurely on April 26, but he and his family continue to fight to give him the best chance at life.

Wood TV reports Jonah’s parents, Heather and Greg Puruleski, now are in a battle with their health insurance company after they say it refused to cover a high-risk but potentially life-saving surgery for Jonah.

“As a mother, to think that an insurance company is going to tell me whether my child is going to live or not… It’s really hard to grasp that this one little hurdle could prevent us from taking him home,” the Kentwood, Michigan mother said.

Jonah has severe heart defects, but there is a surgery that could potentially help him live longer. Doctors at the University of Michigan hospital said they will not do the surgery because the risks outweigh the potential benefit, according to the news station. However, a Columbus, Ohio hospital has agreed to attempt the procedure.

Now, the family has to figure out how to pay for it. The Puruleskis said their insurance company, Priority Health, recently refused to cover the surgery because it is out of state, according to the report. They appealed the decision but lost.

Some people with Trisomy 18 live years or even decades thanks to modern medicine. Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum’s daughter Bella has Trisomy 18, and she recently celebrated her 8th birthday. Last January, LifeNews reported the story of a little boy named Nathan Ghinn-Morris with Trisomy 18 who celebrated his 3rd birthday. Unborn babies diagnosed with genetic disorders like Trisomy 18 and Down syndrome often are targeted for abortions, though. Many families facing the heartbreaking news said they felt pressured to consider abortion.

Keep up with the latest pro-life news and information on Twitter.

The Puruleskis just want to give their son the best chance to live and experience love with his family. Heather said it has been a “constant, constant battle” to ensure Jonah receives the care he deserves. If Jonah has the surgery, he still will need others down the road, according to the report. Still, the Puruleskis said they hope to take Jonah home, even for just a little while, to spend time with them and his three older siblings.

On a Facebook page set up to tell Jonah’s story, Heather wrote a heartbreaking note on Tuesday: “I pleaded with God last night as I fell asleep finally at 1am and woke pleading at 5am.. Pleaded in prayer with the hospital Chaplin today. My eyes are tired from crying so much. I’m completely exhausted. But…….. I will NOT give up. I can’t. I promised this amazing boy I would fight till the end. Jonah Strong friends.”

During an interview with the news station, Greg also pleaded with the insurance company to reconsider covering their son’s surgery.

“I just… please. I beg the insurance company to please help out with us because this is very important to my family and I,” Greg said.

The insurance company refused to comment about the situation, citing privacy concerns, the news station reported. However, a spokesperson said that their hearts went out to the Puruleskis.

Friends of the family set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Jonah’s medical expenses.

“Jonah is amazing and everyone that lays eyes on him feels his purpose and strength,” Heather wrote Monday on Facebook. “This child has shown me so much the last 3 weeks. How in the world can a company tell me I can’t continue the fight?”