Stranded in Canada, pregnant Colombian woman starts GoFundMe to pay hospital fees

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WATCH: A Colombian woman who came to Canada to help her daughter can't go home and now she's asking for help with a baby due any day – Aug 18, 2020

Sandra Medina, 37 weeks pregnant, and her daughter Alejandra Saenz started an online fundraiser to pay for Medina’s impending hospital bill.

She planned to return home to Colombia before giving birth but the border closures caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic forced her to stay.

She has no health insurance and can’t afford what it will cost to have a baby.

Read more: Canada, U.S. agree to extend non-essential travel ban to Sept. 21

Medina came to Canada in June, on a humanitarian flight bringing Canadians home, to help Saenz through a crisis.

“I suffer from PTSD,” Saenz told Global News.

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“And my symptoms (worsened)… and she came to support me.”

The sudden death of Saenz’s cousin in May triggered her post-traumatic stress disorder. She has no family in the country and Medina flew to Canada to be by her side.

Now she can’t leave.

Medina had hoped to return directly or through the United States, where her boyfriend is.

When she arrived in Saskatoon the Canadian-American border was supposed to reopen at the end of June, but the Canadian and American governments have extended the closure several times.

Read more: Extended border closure means another month apart for some couples

Even if she could get out, she can’t return to her home.

“The government of Colombia promised us the borders would be open in one month (back in May). However, the borders are still closed,” Saenz said.

The Canada-U.S. border is currently scheduled to reopen near the end of September — but that doesn’t matter.

Medina is due in three weeks.

She doesn’t speak English but told Global News, via translator and family friend Fernando Maldonado, she didn’t have time to get insurance in her rush to be by her daughter’s side.

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She also said the Colombian health ministry said it wouldn’t provide coverage while she is abroad.

That means she has no health coverage and will have to pay for an expensive hospital visit.

According to a document given to Medina by a physician in Saskatoon, the standard outpatient procedure — what she will likely pay if she doesn’t need to stay overnight — costs a little more than $1,000 for non-Canadians with no insurance.

A document given to Sandra Medina by a doctor shows what some hospital procedures and stays cost for a non-Canadian without insurance. Medina says she cannot afford it.
A document given to Sandra Medina by a doctor shows what some hospital procedures and stays cost for a non-Canadian without insurance. Medina says she cannot afford it. Provided by Sandra Medina

The cost of having a newborn in hospital is more than $2,500 per day.

And an inpatient per diem in a standard ward, if she does need to stay overnight, is $4,500.

Saenz, a University of Saskatchewan student, said they’re expecting a bill between $7,000 and $8,000—which she considers a deal.

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Saenz said her mother found out just hours earlier she wouldn’t require a Caesarean section, which would have driven the cost even higher.

Read more: Couples seek exemptions to Canada-U.S. border restrictions

They started a GoFundMe campaign to raise $5,000 and will count on friends and family for the difference.

Medina told Global News the fundraiser is her last hope. She simply can’t afford the fees.

She also stressed she urgently needs help.

Though her due date is in three weeks, she said her new daughter could still arrive any day.

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