Niagara Falls, NY: In the early morning of September 9, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center (NFMMC) stepped up as an oasis of hope for a pregnant Nigerian asylum-seeker and her family, who had been turned away at the Canadian border.
This dramatic incident highlighted community hospitals’ indispensable role in addressing unplanned crises.
Upon their arrival at Memorial’s Emergency Department, the medical team quickly assessed the pregnant woman’s condition. It determined that a cesarean section was essential for the safety of both mother and child.
While the operation was successful, the family’s plight was far from over. Displaying extraordinary compassion, Brigid Sweeney, the charge nurse, and the Obstetrics team took steps to keep the family united. They accommodated the husband and the couple’s two-year-old child in the same room as the mother.
“Family is invaluable, especially at moments like this,” Sweeney said. “We aimed to ensure the well-being and comfort of the entire family, not just the mother.”
Over the next week, NFMMC’s Labor & Delivery unit teamed up with the hospital’s social workers, the P3 Center, and Child Protective Services to extend a range of services to the family. Their joint efforts included securing emergency housing and initiating processes to obtain insurance coverage for them.
In a striking demonstration of community ethos, the staff at NFMMC went above and beyond medical care. They provided the family necessities such as adult and infant clothing, food supplies, and baby care products.
Anna Pennesi, Women’s Health Director at NFMMC, underscored the significance of this episode. “Memorial’s role in the community goes beyond just healthcare. We serve as a haven of empathy and support, particularly when other options are unavailable.”
On September 14, with NFMMC’s assistance, the family boarded a bus for New Jersey, where relatives were ready to welcome them.
This human-interest story reinforces the importance of community hospitals like NFMMC, emphasizing their commitment to providing care and support, regardless of a person’s background.
ABOUT NIAGARA FALLS MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER
Founded in 1895, NFMMC has an enduring service history to the Niagara community. Accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care, NFMMC offers a diverse range of inpatient services, including a cardiac/stroke unit, a medical-surgical unit, an ICU, a Labor and Delivery unit, and Niagara County’s only Adult Inpatient Psychiatry unit. As a Center for Community Health, NFMMC operates five primary care centers and various innovative community-based services. In partnership with Catholic Health, Kaleida Health, and Erie County Medical Center, NFMMC also operates the sole cardiac catheterization laboratory in Niagara County. The hospital is also home to the Golisano Medical Oncology Center, a collaborative venture with Roswell Park Comprehensive Care Center.