SHAYNE HOLZMAN is on her way home.
The 3-month-old baby, born four months prematurely to a California couple who was visiting here, was to leave Baltimore this morning via air ambulance for Santa Monica (Calif.) Hospital. Born July 16 at University of Maryland Hospital, Shayne weighed 1 pound 5 ounces at birth. She's now 2 pounds 12 ounces, and could be the smallest baby to be flown across country, according to speculation by the local hospital staff.
The couple, Allan Holzman and Susan Justin, and their 3-year-old daughter, Justine, have been staying in Baltimore since the baby was born. The family lives in Santa Monica, though Holzman grew up in Baltimore.
Doctors at University Hospital said the child could go to a hospital closer to her family's home when she weighed 2 pounds 3 ounces. But when she reached that milestone two weeks ago, the family's insurance company refused to pay for the air ambulance because transportation is not part of their health care contract.
Holzman, a free-lance filmmaker, was working on a television series here when his daughter was born. His wife and other daughter were visiting area relatives.
The baby was to leave BWI this morning on a plane owned by Mercy Medical Air Transport of Virginia, a non-profit organization that transports sick people at about half the cost of regular air ambulances. The Leonard Weinglass Foundation of Maryland is paying for the trip.
Dr. Rose Viscardi, a specialist from University Hospital's neonatal intensive care unit, and a nurse from that unit, are accompanying the baby on the 15- to 17-hour flight. Holzman, Justin and their older daughter are going home on a commercial flight.