Parents separated from baby after transfer to US hospital because they lack passports
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, June 26, 2009 10:25PM EDT
HAMILTON - A critically-ill premature-born baby from Hamilton is all alone in a Buffalo, N.Y., hospital after she was turned away for treatment at local facility and transferred across the border without her parents, who don't have passports.
Ava Stinson was born Thursday at St. Joseph's Hospital, 14 weeks premature.
A provincewide search for an open neonatal intensive care unit bed came up empty, leaving no choice but to send the two pound, four ounce baby to Buffalo.
Her parents Natalie Paquette and Richard Stinson couldn't follow their child because as of June 1, a passport is required to cross the border into the United States.
They're having to approve medical procedures over the phone and are terrified something will happen to their baby before they get there.
The Canadian Consulate in Buffalo is providing advice and guidance to the first-time parents, and their local MP, New Democrat David Christopherson, is working to arrange emergency passports.
But that will take until at least Monday afternoon and the situation is complicated by the fact the baby's dad has a criminal record.
"I just want to be with her," said Paquette.
"She only knows my heartbeat, my voice and her daddy's voice. It's all I can think about. I feel so helpless."