HOUSTON, Texas -- Emma Rose Barba had been a happy baby on vacation with her parents in Mexico until Saturday.
It was the 11-month-old's first trip, and the purpose was to visit her father's extended family in San Luis Potosi.
"She was squirming around," said her mother, Emily. "And when she opened her eyes, it was as if she was in a lot of pain."
She was given over-the-counter medication at a clinic. Then her symptoms worsened. Her parents took her to a local hospital, where she underwent surgery. What was first thought to be a stomach virus turned into an emergency operation to repair her intestines. During the surgery, her parents said a catheter was moved and forced fluid into her lungs, compromising her breathing.
She had a scan Wednesday to determine if the lack of oxygen damaged her brain.
It's a lot for a baby to endure, and even more for her parents.
"We just want to get her home to Houston," said her father, Francisco Barba. "We know Texas Children's Hospital is one of the best. We just want to get her there as soon as possible."
That would probably require a medical flight with staff, which could cost up to $30,000, the family said. Complicating the situation is that the Barba family has Medicaid insurance, which doesn't pay for medical care outside the U.S.
"Never leave the country without it," said travel professional Mike Weingart. "You can buy travel insurance that often covers trip interruption, medical emergencies outside the country, and medical emergency transport."
Coverage he said typically costs about 10 percent of the airline ticket. Weingart said he was told that travel insurance claims outrank even homeowner's insurance claims.
The Barba family now has a GoFundMe account to raise money for their medical bills and a medical flight home for their daughter who remains in ICU in San Luis Potosi.
"We hope people will be generous and help us get our baby home."
By late afternoon, just over $6,600 had been donated.
For more information on Emma Rose's story, and to donate, CLICK HERE.
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