MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota family stuck in Central America is trying to find a way home.
Three-year-old Axel Lopez broke his leg last week and needed emergency surgery. His cast prevents him from taking a commercial flight back to Minnesota from Costa Rica. Now, his family is reaching out for help.
Axel spends all of his time laying down, unable to move around. It was day two of a family vacation to Costa Rica when his mom Emmee said Axel fell down and broke his femur.
“He was holding his leg and he just said ‘mommy, mommy, mommy.’ He was screaming in pain,” Emmee Lopez said.
They rushed him to National Children’s Hospital, where hours later he had surgery. Axel’s cast goes from his waist down his right leg, and covers part of the left.
“As a mother that’s the most heartbreaking thing to see your child in pain,” Lopez said.
She thought they’d be able to travel home, but instead learned he can’t take a commercial flight because he can’t sit up.
“’I just want to go home,’ and he says that constantly, ‘I just want to get my cast off. I just want to be in my own bed,’” Lopez said.
Lopez said the U.S. Embassy recommended booking an air ambulance. With that came another shock, a flight with a $42,000 price tag.
“Our insurance denied us because we’re out of the country. Unfortunately because we were led to believe our insurance would cover it,” Lopez said.
She’s turned to friends, family and strangers. A team, little by little, working to get her family home.
“I am so grateful for everyone,” Lopez said.
The family is currently staying with friends Lopez met 10 years ago while studying abroad.
Doctors said the cast may come off in mid-August, but the family hopes they can come up with enough money to fly home sooner.
The family regrets not purchasing separate travel insurance, which could have covered medical expenses and evacuation.