A couple's battle with Lehigh County Children and Youth over the right to remove their ailing child from Lehigh Valley Hospital against the advice of medical staff has been delayed until Friday.

April Saul and Daniel Rivera say they have court-appointed attorneys and are prepared to fight for their child to be moved from the Salisbury Township hospital to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia so 3-month-old Aralynn Rivera can receive the proper cardiac care she deserves.

Saul claims she was chased and stopped at gunpoint by police Tuesday after removing her baby from LVH's neonatal intensive care unit to take her to CHOP.

Authorities say her story is exaggerated, but acknowledge the child was taken from her, placed in emergency medical custody, and brought back to LVH. Hospital officials said because the baby was considered "medically unstable," the law required them to protect the child and alert county officials about the incident.


A custody hearing had been scheduled for Thursday, but was delayed until Friday. A Children and Youth worker there for the hearing declined to comment, but Saul, who was there with Rivera and two of Rivera's sisters, said she planned on persuading a court master to let her transfer her child to CHOP.

"Our attorney will try to get the master to believe that's reasonable," said Saul, 42, of Pottstown. "To me, it seems like something out of a movie. How does this happen? It's my right as a parent to choose where my child receives medical care."

Saul's description of what happened Tuesday when she took her baby without the approval of LVH staff differs vastly from what police and hospital officials say happened.

Saul described a chaotic scene at the hospital, saying the baby's head hit the wall of the elevator during a tussle with hospital staff.

The hospital says "absolutely nothing physical" occurred.

After the parents left the hospital Tuesday, officials issued an alert for police to stop the couple's vehicle because they were involved in a baby abduction.

Saul said police pulled guns on her after officers stopped her vehicle at Seventh and Hamilton streets in Allentown.

City police said officers did not have their weapons drawn. Salisbury police said they interviewed the parents and released them a short time later. No criminal charges were filed.

Aralynn has Down syndrome, an intestinal blockage and three heart defects that will require surgery.

Aralynn had surgery for the intestinal issue, Saul said.

kevin.amerman@mcall.com

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