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‘Medical hostage’ baby continues recovery at Riley hospital

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A baby born prematurely in Mexico remained at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health on Wednesday but is improving, according to his family.

Larry Ralph and Michaela Smith of Martinsville, Indiana, were on vacation in Cancun, Mexico, when Beckham Lake Ralph was born on July 18, 28 weeks before Smith’s projected due date. The hospital in Cancun refused to release the baby until the family paid over $37,000 to them and another $17,000 for a medical air evacuation to Riley.

Beckham has had setbacks during his time at Riley and has a long road to recovery ahead, but continues to gain strength, the family told 24-Hour News 8 on Wednesday.

A GoFundMe page raised over $50,000 for the family before being taken down. The family issued a statement July 27 thanking those who have donated and supported them.

“Words cannot adequately express the amount of gratitude we have for the love and support we have been shown … [the generosity] is beyond anything we could have ever imagined,” the statement said. “We will be taking any money that is left over and donating it to Riley Children’s Hospital.”

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