A central Arkansas couple is fighting to bring their child home after she was born prematurely in Argentina while her mother was studying abroad.
Kara Calvin is little more than a week old, which means she requires intensive care. But because she's premature, she's not insured. And since she's in Argentina, she's also not yet a United States citizen.
Now her parents are facing a crisis. They are paying every dollar they've got and spending every minute they've got fighting to get her home.
On November 15, Krista Calvin left for a one week study-abroad trip to Argentina with UA Little Rock.
"It's something I've always wanted to do, like, I've always wanted to study abroad,” she said.
The day after she arrived, Krista went into pre-term labor. She was only 23-weeks pregnant.
"The second morning I didn't feel well and I emailed my professor around 6 in the morning and told him I didn't feel good. He said to take it easy. During lunch, I started feeling contractions,” she recalled.
The next few hours were anything but easy.
"We went to one hospital. I had my ultrasound in the hallway with people walking by," she explained.
That hospital couldn't care for her and sent her to another, where Kara was born via emergency caesarian section.
Her husband, Terrance, was stuck at home, anxiously trying to get to her.
"I was supposed to ship out November the 21st to the military, so that in itself created a problem,” he explained.
TRICARE, the insurance program for military members and their families, likely would have covered nearly all of Kara and Krista's costs, but because Terrance is with his wife and child, his insurance is no longer valid.
"Ultimately, they kind of voided my contract as of right now," he said. "When I get back, I'll ask if I can still join, so we will take care of that when we get back."
Krista has Blue Cross Blue Shield and even bought additional trip insurance from Generali Global Assistance but neither insurance company are covering for Kara's care. BCBS said the company is not legally allowed to cover the baby's expenses while Generali redirected us to another insurance company.
"Today we were asked [by the hospital] for another $21,000," Krista said. "We've already given $10,000 towards her care."
A representative with Clinica Suizo, the hospital taking care of Kara, said it doesn't discuss policies or patient circumstances.
"It's problematic in the sense that, when you throw around numbers like that, I definitely want to know what specifically I'm being charged for. Just to know that everything is fair" Krista said.
Terrance said the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires has been working to prioritize Kara’s paper work, so she can come home when she’s well enough to be transported. Other than that, he said, there isn’t much the Embassy can do to help with payment.
Krista said that if people intend to study or travel abroad to not "do it pregnant."
The couple have set up a GoFundMe to help with medical costs until they can get Kara back in Arkansas.