A newborn American baby was held “hostage” by a hospital in Cancún, Mexico, before he was released back to his family, triggering an international outcry.
“Our daughter is stuck in Cancun, with our first grandchild and we can’t get him here,” said Elaine Smith, the mother of Michaela Smith, whose child was being held as a “medical hostage” at the hospital. Smith and the child’s father, Larry Ralph, of Indiana, were vacationing in Mexico, Fox59 reported.
The baby, named Beckham, was born prematurely—three months early, to be exact. He weighed less than 2 pounds at birth, according to a GoFundMe page.
The Mexican hospital began demanding several fees before they would release the child, saying they wanted fees for his medical care, delivery, and discharge, Fox59 reported.
“What started off as a US$7,000 bill has jumped up to $37,000 and keeps rising the past 35 hours, with no end in site (sic),” the GoFundMe page read.
Family members were forced to reach out to the U.S. Consulate in Cancún, according to a Facebook post from Amanda Smith, a family member of the mother.
Indiana Rep. Trey Hollingsworth then stepped in and the hospital agreed to release the baby, WISH-TV reported.
“Indiana’s 9th Congressional District office has been working with the family throughout the day seeking a solution to get this newborn home, to the United States, for necessary medical care. Representative Hollingsworth continues to assist and looks forward to greeting this new Hoosier as soon as he is home and healthy,” Rob Brugess, director of communications for Hollingsworth’s office , told the station.
Beckham is now at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, the Indy Channel reported.
In an update on the GoFundMe page on Thursday night, the family wrote the child “is in Indiana.”
“Beckham is getting the proper medical care that he deserves! He is doing well, mom & dad are doing well,” the post reads.
The family later told CNN they spent at least $50,000 in air ambulance and hospital fees to release the baby.
“They told her she could see him 15 minutes every three hours,” said grandmother Elaine, referring to what the hospital authorities told Smith, the Indy Channel reported.