Mom: Hospital refused to transfer baby
A woman charged with removing her baby daughter from a Pennsylvania hospital against doctor's orders says she was just trying to do right by the baby, who needed special treatment for a heart defect.
April Saul said on Monday that Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown repeatedly refused her request to transfer her daughter to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for treatment of the heart defect, even though Lehigh Valley didn't have the specialist the baby required and the baby's parents felt she wasn't getting the care she needed.
A prosecutor disputed her account later Monday and accused her and the baby's father of endangering the baby's welfare. Police filed charges last week against Saul and her fiance, Daniel Rivera, for removing 3-month-old Aralynn from Lehigh Valley's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit without permission.
Saul, 42, said she and Rivera, 43, had begged Lehigh Valley for a transfer to Children's Hospital but officials at the facility refused, telling her Medicaid wouldn't pay for it. She contends the hospital never formally asked for a transfer.
“Danny and I pled, in meeting after meeting with Lehigh Valley, for months,” Saul said. “We kept saying, ‘We feel as though you lack expertise. We feel as though our child has issues you can't address. We want her transferred. What do we have to do to get our baby transferred?' For months we were just getting the runaround.”
The hospital eventually arranged to transfer Aralynn to the Philadelphia hospital, where she's scheduled to have heart surgery this week.
District Attorney Jim Martin called Saul's account “nonsense,” saying Children's Hospital had indicated her daughter wasn't medically ready for transfer. He noted that Aralynn had suffered episodes in which she had stopped breathing as recently as a few days before the couple took her out of the Allentown facility.
“It was a pretty clear-cut case of two parents who just didn't act reasonably,” Martin said. “Whether they were well-intentioned or not does not really matter as far as I'm concerned.”
Saul had intended to give birth at Children's Hospital, but she went into labor while visiting relatives in Allentown, and Lehigh Valley was the closest hospital. Aralynn, who has Down syndrome, was born there prematurely in July.
Lehigh Valley Hospital declined to comment on Saul's allegations on Monday, citing the ongoing court case.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.