A young Falklands mum, and her prematurely born baby, who found themselves immobilized in Chile due to documentation problems, have made it home thanks to a determined mother and a Government House official.
Islander Lizzy Newton (21) was flown to Santiago de Chile to the excellent Clinic Alemana on June 9 after she began to encounter pregnancy difficulties in her 33rd week of pregnancy.
The King Edward VII Memorial Hospital in Stanley has a strong relationship with the clinic, and medical emergencies are most often sent there.
Tiny Marcy was born the next morning on June 10 weighing in at only 4lb 2.7oz.
Lizzy said, “I was discharged the following Monday lunch time, but Marcy was on the neonatal ward in an incubator for a following two weeks. She suffered some respiratory distress the first night but was then fine after that luckily.”
From the Clinic Lizzy spoke to the British Embassy to enquire what papers would be needed in order to be able to obtain her a passport or emergency passport.
She said, “They needed mine and Richard’s (Lizzy’s partner) passports, Marcy's birth certificate and my birth certificate, to prove my claim to being British. You would think that my British passport, which says I’m a British citizen, would be proof enough, but no. And they wanted my full A4 birth certificate, which even my parents have never even seen.
“So I had to order my full birth certificate from the online Home Office site, with a cost of £25. They said it would reach me in five working days.
“Over a week passed and it still hadn't turned up, so I called the Home Office in the UK, where a gentleman told me it would take 10 to 15 working days to reach me. I was starting to get quite upset by this point, as we now had Marcy out of the Clinic and just wanted to get her home.”
Lizzy explained, “I called the British Embassy numerous times, asking why they really needed it, as I wouldn't have a British Passport if I weren't British, and I could only get home once a week and it was starting to get really expensive, but they kept insisting that they needed it.
“I spoke to my mum a few times about the situation, and she decided that enough was enough.”
Tizzy’s mum Mim Newton went to Government House and spoke to Staff Officer Ralph Jones.
“Mum took both her’s and my father’s birth certificates, their marriage certificate, passports, and my Falkland Island Status certificate. Ralph got in contact with the British Embassy in Chile with all this information and advised them that they needed to try and be a little more lenient with me, as it was not easy to get the birth certificate.”
The Embassy in Chile then spoke to their head office in Montevideo and eventually good sense prevailed and Lizzy and Marcy were allowed to travel.
Lizzy said, “I will forever be in debt to my mum and Government House for all the help they gave. I just hope that the next person this happens to is told what they will need before they go, so they will have all the correct documents they need to be able to get home with no problem, and not weeks later than they should have.”
Speaking from Government House, Staff Officer Mr Jones said, “We are always happy to be able to assist British nationals when they encounter difficulties out of the Islands.
In this case we didn’t know about the birth of the child for two weeks, so if you are having problems please contact us.
“Some procedures take time as we often have to authenticate the nationality of the person needing assistance. In this case it wasn’t difficult.”
By Lisa Watson – SeAledPR - Stanley