The parents of a seriously ill infant were charged Wednesday with endangering the welfare of a child for removing their daughter from Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest against medical advice in October, according to the Lehigh County District Attorney's office.
April Saul, 42, and Daniel Rivera, 43, of 319 Chestnut St., Apt. 2, Pottstown, were also charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly using obscene language in the pediatric intensive care unit of LVH and engaging in “tumultuous behavior in view of extremely ill children, family and medical persons,” according to a prepared release.
Salisbury Township police were called to the hospital Oct. 23 to investigate a report of a baby abduction.
The charges were filed after an investigation by Lehigh County Det. Kevin Smith, who investigates allegations of child abuse, and Salisbury Township police.
The baby currently is in Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Lehigh Valley Hospital arranged for the baby’s transfer to CHOP.
The defendants were arraigned today (Dec. 5 by) District Judge David Harding of Coopersburg. Bail was set at $10,000 unsecured for each defendant. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Dec. 14 before District Judge Michael Pochron.
According to the release, the arrest affidavit states:
* Saul and Rivera's daughter was born prematurely July 18, 2012 and had "serious medical issues." She was in Lehigh Valley Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
* Because of the baby’s condition, her heartbeat, breathing and temperature had to be continually monitored. The baby needed to remain in the NICU until she met minimum requirements set by medical personnel for discharge from the unit and hospital.
* The parents were required to attend educational instruction on the special care that the baby would need outside of a hospital setting.
* When the parents removed their daughter from the hospital, they had not yet met the minimum requirements for her discharge and the medical requirements for the baby's discharge had not yet been met.
* The parents removed the infant from monitoring equipment and her crib on Oct. 23 without medical training or permission. They tried to leave the NICU. When questioned by medical personnel, they yelled loudly and used obscene language in the common area of the NICU. Nursing staff repeatedly asked the parents not to remove the baby from the unit because the baby’s health could be endangered.
* The attending physician also asked the parents not to remove the baby, and the parents continued to yell, use obscene language and insist that they were leaving the unit.
* The parents took the baby from the hospital against medical advice and said they wanted to take the baby to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
* Police stopped Saul and Rivera, who had the baby with them, in a vehicle at Seventh and Hamilton streets in Allentown.
* When the baby was returned to the hospital, she had a temperature of 96.5 degrees, which medical personnel said was life-threatening because of her medical condition.
Arrests do not indicate conviction.