Family struggles to bring newborn home after premature birth in Mexico

Posted at 7:23 PM, Jul 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-20 22:23:58-04

A Valley woman is shedding light on her friends' struggle to bring their newborn baby home from Mexico, after he was born prematurely during a vacation this week.

Carolyn Hutson is closely monitoring updates in Indiana, where her friends live, as they await the return of their loved ones and the couples' newborn baby, Beckham Ralph.

"He was being held hostage, in effect, down there," Hutson said.

Baby Beckham's family told ABC15 the child's parents, Larry Ralph and Michaela Smith, traveled to Cancun, Mexico on Friday for a 'babymoon'. The trip was supposed to be a fun vacation before the mother gave birth, but she wound up needing an emergency C-section on Tuesday. According to friends and family, the hospital in Cancun kept demanding more money.

"Every time they talked to him, it was 'well you owe this much more now," Hutson said.

Beckham's grandfather, Larry Ralph Sr., told ABC15 the family wound up paying more than $30,000 before the hospital discharged his grandson, who was born at 28 weeks.

"All we ever wanted from the beginning was to get him out of the country," Ralph Sr. said. "Get him out of Mexico, where he could come to the United States where medical care is much different."

The family says they of course expected to pay for all medical services, but feel the hospital charged them more than 15x the normal amount.

"(They) thought we were something that we really weren't, I guess, based on the fact that we did give the $3,000 just to get into the hospital," Ralph Sr. said.

The family says Beckham was eventually released from the hospital. They told ABC15 they paid more than $20,000 for an air ambulance to bring the child to Florida. Beckham is expected to return home to Central Indiana Thursday night.

"They're there, and you're here, and there's just not a whole lot you can do about any of it except send money and the hospital there knew that," Ralph Sr. said.

Stuck looking for updates in Phoenix, friend Carolyn Hutson says the ordeal is beyond comprehension.

"It's frightening that this could happen to anybody," Hutson said.