Cancun Hospital Accused of Holding Preemie 'Hostage' After Mom Gives Birth on Vacation

Baby Beckham Lake Smith-Ralph
Rebecca S. Ewert/GoFundMe

It's not uncommon for expectant parents whisk themselves off on a vacation before their baby's arrival, and that's what makes this story incredibly chilling. New parents Michaela Smith and Larry Ralph Jr. say a Mexican hospital held their their premature baby hostage, demanding the Indiana couple shell out thousands of dollars before they'd release their infant back to the US.


The couple -- who got permission from their doctor for Michaela to travel at 28 weeks pregnant -- headed to Cancun, Mexico, for a babymoon in celebration of their boy, who was due October 15. But rather than enjoying fun in the sun, Michaela unexpectedly went into labor and gave birth to the couple's child, Beckham Lake, in a Cancun hospital via emergency C-section on July 18.

Needless to say, what should've been the happiest moment in this couple's life turned into an unbelievable battle.

More from CafeMom: Hospital Refuses to Give Baby to Mom Until She Pays for C-Section

"Literally they're being held hostage down there," Larry Ralph Sr., baby Beckham's proud grandpa who was anxiously waiting to meet his new grandson, told Fox 59 News. "We just want to get him somewhere and get him stable. We need to get him in America."

After the couple paid a reported $9,000 to the hospital the day of Beckham's birth, Fox 59 News says the baby's mom and dad were bombarded with questionable fees that kept adding up. The parents were told they'd have to pay the fees in full before their baby could be released.

"What started off as a $7,000 bill has jumped up to $37,000 and rising the past 35 hours, with no end in site," Rebecca S. Ewert wrote on a GoFundMe page started for Beckham.

At one point, the hospital reportedly told Michaela and Larry to cough up $30,000 in 30 minutes or risk being kicked out of the hospital, WRTV Indianapolis reports. (YIKES.)

Michaela Smith with son Beckham
Rebecca S. Ewert/GoFundMe

Larry Sr. tells Fox 59 News the hospital even demanded his son pay an additional $4,000 if he wanted to see his own son. Supposedly, the mom was only allowed to see the baby for 15 minutes every three hours. Can you even imagine???

More from CafeMom: 20 Things Not to Say to a Mom of a Preemie

The family eventually paid $18,000 for a Medivac to fly Michaela and her son to a Florida hospital, but they were denied because no hospitals in the state would accept the mom's health insurance provider. With so much falling apart for this family, it FINALLY seems like there is light at the end of this very long tunnel:

An AirMed with a neonatal medical team has arrived in Cancun to transport baby Beckham and his mommy to the Riley's Children's Hospital in Indianapolis. (Beckham's dad will have to leave on a later flight.)

Neonatal medical team
Rebecca S. Ewert/GoFundMe

Now, the new parents are relying on Beckham's GoFundMe page to raise money for hospital fees and the $30,000 needed to pay for their new medical transport. No matter the obstacles, this family refuses to give up.

"We're gonna get you and Larry and Beckham out of there. We will do it," Elaine Smith, Michaela's mom, told her daughter via phone, Fox 59 News reports.

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