Parents Who Took Baby from LVH Charged With Endangering Welfare

April Saul and Daniel Rivera of Pottstown face criminal charges after allegedly taking their seriously ill daughter from Lehigh Valley Hospital without permission, according to the Lehigh County District Attorney's office.


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.

SWT Resident December 05, 2012 at 09:30 PM
These charges set a very dangerous standard. The parents may have been very stupid in their actions AND God forbid the baby did die while in their possession, I would see them then perhaps facing very serious charges. But it did not. Something else prompted them to remove the baby and want to take it to CHOP. When do we get to hear THEIR side of the story? Perhaps they felt their actions were meant to protect the baby? This case is clearly government stepping over their bounds in my opinion and is happening more and more anymore. It is not the governments baby. It belongs to the parents. If the baby would have died in the hospital because of her ailments and this parental incident never would have happened...would the hospital be held liable for the baby's death especially if it comes back that the baby should have been moved to CHOP sooner? Not a chance. It would be tough luck for the parents. And we'd still have a precious baby that passed. I get tired of the "government knows best" BS. Stay out of our lives already. Pay attention to the Constitution, something our elected officials and judges have been ignoring for way too long. I'd love to go to this hearing just to get the truth on this case. Something really stinks here. Something is being covered up. Maybe the LVH saw a cash cow here and didn't want to let it go to a better equipped facility and used their "eminent domain" to hold it? Lots of questions. Point still remains: govt, stay on your side of the line.
SWT Resident December 05, 2012 at 09:37 PM
I am surprised the government didn't step in and have the parents neutered and spayed right away. Is that what we can expect next out of them???? The government does not have a check book to pay for their decisions...they use ours...without our input. Nice...isn't it?
SWT Resident December 05, 2012 at 09:41 PM
You can't contact the hospital and ask Janet because of HOP regulations...even though it may be YOUR money. Nice the way the government has set themselves up access to YOUR wallet without YOU saying a thing about it. For all we know both parents may have excellent health coverage, an HSA, AFLAC, etc. If they do...more power to them. If they don't kudos for them trying to get the best care for their child even if WE are paying for it.
clifford p persing jr December 05, 2012 at 09:49 PM
oh janet, same people who helped you out when you lived in Ohio on the welfare dime
Just another Mom December 05, 2012 at 09:51 PM
How about brains staying on the right side of the line. Who knows better here....trained NICU docs, nurses, etc, who save the lives of thousands of babies every year, or two parents who are also clouded by emotions, etc. Sure, maybe it wasn't what THEY wanted, but shouldn't they have done what was advised to be the BEST for their poor, defenseless baby. Clearly the medical personel were looking out for that baby much more than the parents were, and you don't have to even consider dollar signs to see that.
Ben Miller December 05, 2012 at 09:53 PM
They almost killed the baby, SWT Resident. They were disorderly and threatening in a pediatric NICU, which is already one of the most terrifying places to be if you're a parent. Around children and scared parents, they went ballistic. You're right that the baby was theirs and not the government's, BUT the baby was not in their custody for reasons that had not been released due to privacy. It's important to remember that. Hospitals are not allowed to require ANY parent to keep their child admitted if the parents do not want their child there. It's the law. If a parent has religious objections to medical care, they are allowed to make whatever terrible decisions they want to make.
Ben Miller December 05, 2012 at 09:56 PM
What they did is like a parent coming in to a hospital and removing a child from life support systems. The only reason that baby is alive, is because police stopped them less than 20 minutes later and immediately returned the poor little baby to the hospital.
Mom to 3 December 05, 2012 at 10:16 PM
My baby was in the NICU at the same time that their daughter was there. There are two overnight rooms for parents to stay in while their child is there. I was in one one night and they were in the other. They were very rude to the staff and very inconsiderate of the other people in there. All night long they were going in and out of the room and slamming the door, which would wake me up. The NICU is a very scary place to be and having these parents around made it even worse.
tamarya December 06, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Even if it died in their care it is their child. A parent at one time had the right to decline medical treatment or a right to shut off life support, does not sound that way anymore.
Theresa Schnable December 06, 2012 at 02:43 AM
The welfare of the child should always come first. Who is qualified to determine this? Why were the parents taking a seriously ill infant out of medical care? Where and what is the rest of the story?
Ben Miller December 06, 2012 at 03:13 AM
Nobody has the right to shut off life support of another, be it their child, friend, spouse or parent, unless the medical staff deems the individual to be beyond help and incapable of recovery.
Ben Miller December 06, 2012 at 03:13 AM
OR, if that individual had a living will that specified certain terms should they become incapacitated.
Ben Miller December 06, 2012 at 03:18 AM
I'm so sorry for what you experienced and I hope your own child made a full recovery. When my wife gave birth to our daughter there, they had run out of rooms on the regular maternity ward and she was moved to a room in their annex section, right next to the NICU. I saw those babies and terrified parents... it was a haunting sight.
tamarya December 06, 2012 at 05:35 AM
At least you did not see a baby die like we did when our son was in NICU. I remember the staff going out of Nicu to get the parents and the parents coming back in crying. I am sorry you had a bad experience because of these parents, but if your child was in for 3months because of all these problems would you not be frustrated also when the hospital denies your wishes to move them to another hospital for a second opinion? I am sure it would be frustrating for you, even for me it would be, however some have the me, myself and I opinion and our quick to judge however they would do anything it takes for their own child.
tamarya December 06, 2012 at 05:58 AM
There is more info on the wfmz site. The baby had downs, a heart defect and other problems, the child was in NICU for 3 months, the parents requested the child be trasferred to CHOP for a second opinion but lehigh valley declined the transfer. This article clearly misses alot of the details which makes the parents look like they did completely wrong. The parents had left to take the baby to CHOP on their own since the hospital refused to transfer.
Nora Markovitch December 06, 2012 at 07:30 AM
You are all insane. I wouldn't want my child at LVCC either. They weren't endangering their child, they we're trying to save it by sending it to a GOOD hospital. A hospital MEANT for these types of situations. Grant it, they did go about it wrong, BUT it was probably because they were denied to go to CHOP because LVCC thinks they are all high and mighty just like half of the LV thinks because your brainwashed by stupidity. I wish them the best of luck, and wish you guys would learn to shut up, especially if you don't have children or have never been to LVCC.
Nicole December 06, 2012 at 11:42 AM
As someone who has dealt with more hospitals and doctors than I can count because of my cancer diagnosis. I can say with much confidence that some not all doctors and nurses do not like to hear you want a second opinion. However, that does not condone the action of the parents. The problem probably then lye in the hands of both parties involved. Neither acted peaceably. The parents may have been ridden with emotions but so probably the staff dealing with them. We as a humans are quick to pick a side. When usually, when there is an issue it is because we all act on our emotions. I do think however ultimately, the parents should not be charged and the police who in my opinion often over step boundaries, should have tried to calm the parents and the situation so that no one be charged with anything and the child receive the care they needed. The problem as I see is that are society has come to love being judges, and picking sides not acting loving or peaceably toward others.
kerry follweiler December 06, 2012 at 12:09 PM
I agree Nicole
tamarya December 06, 2012 at 01:23 PM
But for Ben, we do not know but with all the problems that baby was diagnosed with LV may have told the parents there was no chance for the baby and that could be why they wanted the baby taken to CHOP.
Mom to 3 December 06, 2012 at 01:57 PM
There was a baby that passed away while we were in there. It was heartbreaking. The hospital was only thinking of this little girls well being. She is very medically fragile and they probably didn't know how she would do on the transport. She has downs syndrome along with some pretty severe heart issues. All of that along with being premature. They need to put the babies well being above what the parents want sometimes.
tamarya December 06, 2012 at 04:15 PM
How could transferring the baby to a great childrens hospital be worst for the babies well being. Most likely they could have airlifted her if needed and supplied her care in transport.
Janet Persing December 06, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Wrong person.
Carl W December 07, 2012 at 03:10 AM
At-a-way, think about the money, not the child, and the parents.
Ben Miller December 07, 2012 at 05:39 AM
Such a horrifying thing to see, Tamarya.... I am very sorry you had to see that and even sorrier that little guy or girl didn't make it. If the parents wanted to move the baby to another hospital, there is absolutely nothing LVH could have done to stop them, unless there was some mitigating factor legally... or they didn't have insurance. If they did not have medical insurance and the state (you, me and every other PA taxpayer) is paying the hospital bill, then the parents do not have the right to move their child unless it is deemed medically necessary. That's the price you pay when you don't have a job that provides health insurance. Incidentally, how come nobody noticed that these parents DID NOT take the baby to CHOP? They were apprehended on 7th street in Allentown. Cedar Crest Hospital is right next to 78, which they would have jumped on and followed to 476, if they were really going to Philly.
Ben Miller December 07, 2012 at 05:45 AM
The parents DID NOT leave the hospital to take the baby to CHOP. They were apprehended in downtown Allentown, off 7th St. LVH Cedar Crest is located right next to rt 78, which leads to rt 476 and Philadelphia. Also, when a seriously ill patient is moved from one hospital to another, it is NEVER in a personal vehicle, due to insurance and medical concerns. It's always done via an ambulance or helicopter. If they wanted a second opinion from CHOP, they could have arranged to have their baby moved in about an hour's time, unless neither parent had a job that provided health care and the baby's healthcare is being paid for by the state (you, me and every other taxpayer). Then, the parents would be required to prove it is medically necessary to move the child.
Ben Miller December 07, 2012 at 05:48 AM
A little bitter, Nora? I have four children and each of them were born at LVH Cedar Crest. It's a great hospital with a tremendous staff. It's not just people in the Lehigh Valley who thinks that either. The hospital is ranked among the top hospitals in the state and the nation.
Ben Miller December 07, 2012 at 05:49 AM
God bless, Nicole. I wish you a speedy recovery from your own battle with cancer.
april saul December 12, 2012 at 07:51 PM
The baby is disabled so SSI or medicaid covers her insurance.Any baby has the right at a chance at life regardless of what type of health coverage they have.
april saul December 12, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Why do people with no brains post comments on social medias?You know nothing about our situation to post a stupid one-liner like that.Did you read BETWEEN the lines with the biased media article?Do you have kids?What parent wouldn't fight to the to save their child's life?Good thing we fought to get our baby to CHOP because she needs open heart surgery NOW.Have you come to realize how much the government is CONTROLLING us?Hospitals also post a Patient Bill of Rights in which you have the right to refuse treatment.As a parent...darned if you do darned if you don't.Slack off and you neglect you child.Fight for them and still be condemned.So, before you go saying something ridiculous miss snow white, put yourself in somebody else's shoes.And if you don't have kids, shame on you for opening your mouth at all.
april saul December 12, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Ben Miller: We didn't almost kill our baby.We NEVER wouldve conducted ourselves disorderly or threatening.You read a biased one sided story all twisted up full of lies.Also,the baby WAS and IS in our custody.So please get that straight.Just because you read something in the media or online does not mean its true Mr. Miller! It is a good thing that family court saw things our way and we got our baby to CHOP because the baby needs open heart surgery THIS WEEK!There is a whole lot of politics involved here and I must watch what I comment on at this time.I am glad you realize that hospitals cannot require you to receive treatment or stay at the hospital.


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