(Sam Taghizadeh via KPTV)
A four-month-old baby girl with a serious heart condition was scheduled to have potentially life-saving surgery at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland on February 5, but now she’s been barred from entering the U.S. by President Donald Trump’s immigration ban, and now nobody knows what is going to happen to her.
According to KPTV, Fox 12 Oregon, four-month-old Fatemah lives in Iran with her parents. Her grandparents and uncle are American citizens who live in the U.S. Fatemah has a very serious heart condition that doctors say requires open-heart surgery as soon as possible. Open-heart surgery is risky and very scary, especially on such a small baby, and Fatemah’s parents wanted her to get the safest and best possible medical treatment. They were worried that the care in Iran would not be as good as the surgery she could have in the U.S., so they managed to arrange for the baby to have her surgery at OHSU.
Fatemah’s surgery was scheduled for February 5, and her family was ready for her and her parents to arrive in Oregon weekend to stay with them. The surgery itself required tons and tons of paperwork to arrange, but it was all set. They had the surgery booked. It was all legal and ready to go; they would just need to get their tourist visas from the U.S. consulate in Dubai, and from there go to Oregon to meet their family and get ready for their four-month-old baby’s open-heart surgery.
Getting the paperwork for their visas was a real hassle. Fatemah’s uncle, Sam Taghizadeh, said it took their family three solid weeks to get all the forms, paperwork, and signatures that were required to get visas for his niece and her parents. They had it all ready to go, though, but when Fatemah and her family arrived at the U.S. consulate in Dubai, they were told they should just go home, because President Trump’s executive order barring people from Iran from entering the U.S. meant they were not going to be allowed to finish their trip.
“All the paper, everything was ready, and just in the last minute they canceled everything,” said Taghizadeh.
Now they don’t know what will happen to Fatemah, or where she will go for her surgery. Her doctors say it should be done soon, and can’t be put off for a few years. But the U.S. trip that had been so carefully planned and arranged has now been called off. Fatemah’s family is understandably bitter.
“Why we came to U.S., we came here for freedom. For a better life. I’m feeling no where is safe,” Taghizadeh said.
Fatemah and her family have returned to Iran, where they must be scrambling to come up with a new plan to get their baby the surgery she needs.