Click to view image: 'cae90b30de33-baby.jpg' Parents stunned by flood of money
Strangers offer to pay hospital bill for 'baby who didn't exist'...................................................... Thanks to "acts of kindness" from strangers across Canada, it will be a merry Christmas for a baby girl born to an immigrant mother in Montreal who incurred more than $5,500 in debts before leaving a local hospital.
Donations started pouring in after a story about "Marley the baby who didn't exist" appeared in The Gazette last month.
Marley's parents say they are feeling overwhelmed and very happy.
"There are some very good people in this world," Wayne Samuels, the baby's father and a Canadian citizen, said after a cheque for $3,000 from a British Columbia man arrived in the mail yesterday.
"I can pay the bills now and put it all behind me. But it shouldn't have happened in the first place," Wayne said, referring to comments from hospital staff about immigrants being freeloaders.
Laura Cobian, 26, is originally from Mexico and gave birth to Marley on Nov. 23 at the Lakeshore General Hospital. When Cobian and Samuels left the hospital with their daughter that night, they were missing some important documents.
The doctor who delivered Marley took the baby's birth registration papers, telling the new parents she would not return them until they paid her $2,000.
Samuels said he told obstetrician Yvonne Vasilie he could not pay her bill all at once. A grill cook who earns $776.09 after taxes every two weeks, he said he wanted to negotiate a payment schedule but the doctor refused.
Cobian had been seeing Vasilie since the start of her pregnancy, and had paid $50 per visit and an initial $100 registration fee.
Because Cobian does not have a valid medicare card, neither the doctor nor the hospital can bill the provincial health insurance board for their fees.
The couple filed a complaint with the hospital ombudsman and, after calls from The Gazette, the paperwork was released to them.
Vasilie later said it was a misunderstanding.
The incident created a media storm and the family got emails and phone calls with offers of help.
First, Aline Levi, a local pediatrician, offered to squeeze baby Marley into her busy practice.
Then, a Montreal senior contacted The Gazette to settle the couple's hospital bill.
"I was simply moved by the fact that what should have been a happy occasion turned out to be a downer for them," said May, who spoke on condition that only her first name be published.
Samuels and his wife have already written their anonymous donor a thank-you card. They were expecting to drop it off at the hospital yesterday.
"I would like to tell that lady, 'a million thanks to you and your family.' It helps us financially. It's one less bill to pay. And it's the best Christmas present."
Then came a cheque for $2,000 from Brian Fox, 53, of Toronto, who said he was struck by the family's predicament.
As vice-president of Western Union Canada, Fox said he has been humbled by his job.
"I am absolutely amazed by the generosity of immigrant people who come to Canada. I see it daily in their transactions ... to their families back home," he said. "It's those people's generosity that provided me with employment, so it was a really easy decision to make at this time of year."
David Smith, 46, of Fort St. John, B.C., who is expecting his fifth child on Monday and gave $3,000 to the Samuels, said everyone deserves a break, especially in a hard-luck situation when a child is involved.
"I've had people help me out in the past," said Smith, who runs a small trucking company. "This country was built by immigrants. If we don't look after our own, who will?"
It's easy to ignore misery overseas, like the starving child in Africa, he said.
"But help starts at home," he said. "We've taught that to our children. You do what you can when you can, even if it's only giving a sandwich to a man on a street corner."
Tags: Baby, charity, Empathy, Kindness, Canada, Hospital
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada (load item map)
Marked as: approved
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