Mom battles with hospital to transfer surviving twin after separation surgery

Mom Battles With Hospital to Transfer Surviving Twin After Surgery

AURORA, Colo. -- The battle between the mom of a conjoined twin and Children's Hospital Colorado has spread to Boston. Amber McCullough wants to transfer her surviving twin Savannah to Boston Children's Hospital but the move now appears to be in limbo.

FOX31 Denver broke the story when McCullough was banned from visiting her own daughter at Children's Hospital Colorado earlier this month, after the hospital said McCullough broke a behavior contract.

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"I don't think I would be seeing her still if you guys hadn't covered the story," said McCullough, who's visitation was restored to four hours a day after FOX 31 aired her story.

McCullough and her attorney, James Avery, said Children's Hospital Colorado has acted in a retaliatory manner ever since she filed a complaint against the facility in mid-November.

McCullough felt the hospital waited too long to perform emergency surgery after an incision ruptured in her daughter's neck, which McCullough said nearly caused her 4-month-old daughter to bleed out.

Since then, McCullough has worked to transfer Savannah to Boston Children's Hospital.

On December 31 McCullough received an email from Boston Children's stating, "Dr. Joseph Borer would be admitting Savannah when she comes to Boston Children`s."

That was crucial because Medicaid is unlikely to approve the transfer without proof of an admitting doctor. Just days later though, McCullough was told by phone the email was a mistake and that Boston did not have an admitting doctor for Savannah.

"A very big step forward for us and we were ready to go and then it's just another brick wall. We just keep running into those," said a frustrated McCullough.

Amber McCullough speculates that Children's Hospital Colorado put the brakes on the transfer. "Colorado`s been very clear to me from the beginning that they do not want me to transfer."

Children's Hospital Colorado denies it interfered. Here's the hospital's full statement responding to McCullough's accusation:

Children's Hospital Colorado has not caused interference. There is no reason why we would try to interfere with a patient's transfer, and it is up to the admitting hospital to accept the transfer. Whether a hospital has or does not have an admitting physician is entirely up to the admitting hospital.

Children's hospitals are unique in that we constantly share best practices and work collaboratively with patient families and other top facilities to ensure our patients are getting the best care. If it is in the patient's best interest to transfer to another facility, or if the family desires a transfer, we will assist with this process.

In the case of a patient-requested transfer, it is up to the patient family to initiate the request, and then the transferring hospital responds to the requests/needs of the receiving hospital. There are many complex factors involved in a patient transfer, including safe transportation, insurance verification, availability and approval from the receiving hospital, etc., all of which can be a lengthy process and many parts of it not completely in control of the transferring institution, such as Children's Hospital Colorado.

Amber McCullough and her supporters are not convinced. They've created a Facebook page titled "Rights for Savannah." It attracted more than 3,000 members within 24 hours.

The page was created "in order to deter these kinds of abuses of power that I`m encountering with the hospital," said McCullough.

FOX31 Denver reached out to Boston Children's Hospital to find out why it is no longer offering an admitting physician and if it still might, but we have not heard back.

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