New FMB parents unable to take newborn home due to red tide

Published: Updated:
Riley Jameison, WINK News

Every parent’s dream is taking their healthy baby home, but for Hannah Tucker and Austin Jamieson, their baby remains in the hospital.

“We really don’t want to bring him here,” Tucker said.

Six-week-old baby Riley Jamieson, born premature with Down syndrome and breathing problems, remains in the hospital.

“He’s working on eating and that’s his biggest struggles with coming home right now, is breathing,” Tucker said.

For Tucker and Jamieson, Riley staying in the hospital at least means he’s away from the red tide.

They live and work on Fort Myers Beach, and they say the toxic fumes have made them sick.

“We just finished with antibiotics for upper respiratory infections,” Tucker said.

They fear that these conditions will be worse for a premature newborn who already faces breathing problems.

“He literally wouldn’t be able to breathe, especially if it keeps getting worse,” Tucker said.

Pediatrician Dr. Annette St. Pierre-MacKoul agrees, and says exposing even a healthy baby to red tide and algae could cause liver damage.

“A normal healthy newborn should not be exposed to algae or red tide, period. There’s no five minute rule, 10 minute rule,” Dr. Pierre-MacKoul said. “It’s bad. We want to keep them from exposure.”

It may not seem like a solution, but the only thing to avoid red tide right now is to stay inside with the windows up and the air conditioning on.

“I don’t want to see him sick, especially seeing all these wires on him and tubes on him, and all this other stuff,” Tucker said.

Tucker and Jameison are thinking of moving off Fort Myers Beach, maybe even the state.

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