Gas prices impact Central California family struggling to visit sick newborn at Bay Area hospital

Davy the youngest of four sons was born with a condition requiring life-saving surgery to allow him to breathe.

Tara Campbell Image
Thursday, March 17, 2022
CA family spends $300 in gas to visit newborn at hospital
Amid soaring gas prices, a Tulare, California family says it spends $300, 3.5 hours per trip to visit sick newborn at Bay Area hospital.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Soaring gas prices are taking a toll on families with critically sick children, who are traveling to and from Bay Area hospitals.

"It's really hard, but I've got to be strong for all of us," Tinisha Dominguez, who's spending her days and nights with her newborn son, Davy at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Davy the youngest of four sons was born with a condition requiring life-saving surgery to allow him to breathe.

"They cut the jaw and put metal plates and rods and then after the surgery, they would distract it for twelve days to bring his jaw forward," said Dominguez, noting the surgery a success, but the road to recovery will be long.

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Dominguez is hundreds of miles away from her family with her husband making the three-and-a-half-hour drive from Tulare when he can, but money is tight.

"My husband does come back and forth when he can. It is hard due to the gas prices," she said, adding a round trip is now costing the family more than $300.

A local nonprofit's been helping out with gas money, but the executive director says gas prices are making it tough.

"We are nowhere near being able to meet the demand for gas at the moment," said Sara Alexander, Executive Director, Bay Area There with Care.

There With Care helps families with critically ill children who are struggling financially; providing everything from care packages to gas cards.

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"Knowing that they're having to choose between paying rent, getting food on their table, or filling their gas tanks I mean that's a tremendous amount of stress on families with a sick child," said Alexander.

And it's turned into a lot of stress for the nonprofit as it tries to keep up.

"Previously, we were helping families with $25 to $50 worth of gas and now knowing that a tank of gas can cost more than $100 we recognize there's so much more we can do," said Alexander, asking those who can to donate by going to their website.

"Whatever they can give in any amount or whatever it is really it does make it a difference," said Dominguez, who plans to eventually give back to other families struggling with sick children.

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"Once we're home and settled, my greatest hope is to give back," she said. "To give back to everyone who's given to us."

In the meantime, she'll be by her son's side. Anxiously awaiting the day she gets to take Davy home.

"I'm just waiting for the day for us all to be together again."

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