MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (WTTV/IndyStar) — It’s been a long journey for the families of a baby born 12 weeks prematurely in Mexico, who was finally able to come home to the U.S. He is currently at the Riley Hospital for Children.
Baby Beckham was born 12 weeks before he was due when his parents, Michaela Smith and Lary Ralph Jr., were in Cancun on a vacation.
This is all when their nightmare started. The hospital where Beckham was born wouldn’t release him until all the fees were paid.
The grandparents of Beckham said greed had gotten in the way. ” Literally they were being held hostage down there. We just want to get him somewhere and get him stable. We need him in America,” Larry Ralph Sr. said.
Michaela and Larry handed over $9,000 to the hospital for the first day of care and then another $4,000 for various ‘fees.’
“Well, they demanded pretty much, they demanded he pay another $4,000 dollars and that got him access to go back and see the baby,” the grandfather said when Larry initially wasn’t allowed to go back to see his son after being born.
Then the family says the hospital staff refused to release the baby to an air ambulance until they paid the bill in full, but the total kept changing. That fee finally landed at $30,000, which did not include the money the four grandparents spent on a Medivac. The Medivac was paid for transport to St. Petersburg Hospital, which was around $18,000.
According to the IndyStar, the stateside family started a GoFundMe account and as of Thursday night, the family had raised more than $41,000 of their $60,000 goal.
But Beckham coming home was all thanks to Greenwood City Councillor Ezra Hill and Congressman Trey Hollingsworth. Hollingsworth and their staff worked tirelessly to get the baby and his family home in Indiana.
“Making sure every Hoosier knows you have a resource in your member of congress. Reach out to our office so we can shine a light in dark spaces. So we can show people this will not be tolerated,” said Hollingsworth.
Thursday afternoon a Pensacola, Florida-based medical jet finally headed south to pick up Smith and Beckham, who weighs a little more than 2 pounds, and brought them back to Indianapolis. Plans called for Ralph to follow on a commercial jet and for the family to reunite in Indianapolis, Rebecca Ewert, Beckham’s aunt, said.
The family says the Cancun doctors and nurses were phenomenal, but the hospital administrators charged them outrageous fees. In all, the family spent at least $50,000, but they said not a single dime spent matters.
“It’s family. There’s nothing more important than that. There isn’t,” Rebecca said.
The family is overwhelmed by the support they’ve received from people and thank everyone for sharing #bringbeckhamhome on social media and for donating to help him get home.