Newborn Ayda Ward was 'held hostage' by a Turkish hospital that wanted her distraught parents to pay AU$177,000 in medical bills before they would release her.
Ayda was born three months earlier when her mother, Adel Blake, 28, gave birth while on holiday with partner Brandon Ward, 19.
The desperate couple wrongly believed their insurance company would cover the costs of the AU$5290 caesarean section, follow-up medication and AU$2166-a-day hospital bill for their premature baby.
The new parents, from England, finally had to call the police for help so they could get baby Ayda out of the hospital after an agonising 77-day 'nightmare' in Turkey.
In an exclusive interview, Blake told the Sun: 'I can’t explain the pain this has caused us. I just hope that no one else ever has to suffer such cruel and unnecessary treatment.'
'After a few weeks, she was clearly well enough to come home and take a bottle, but they kept feeding her on a tube because they wanted to keep her there — they were literally holding her hostage.'
'They said I had to settle the bill, to pay the money or they would keep the baby and we wouldn’t be allowed to return to the UK.'
'They ignored all our pleas to be allowed to bond with her. They just didn’t seem to care about the damage they were inflicting on our family. They only seemed to care about their bill.'
Blake was insured with Atlas Direct, but every time she contacted them, she claims they made 'excuses and refusals.'
After Blake’s family launched a GoFundMe campaign, they helped raise $5,400 for the couple to pay for an apartment in Turkey.
Eventually, nearly three months after setting off on their holiday, Ward, Blake and baby Ayda were finally able to fly home.
The mom of two added: 'We’re treasuring every moment with Ayda.'
'We missed out on the first three months of her life and we’re making up for it now. I just hope that by speaking out, no one else will ever have to suffer the way we did.'
This article originally appeared on New Idea.