NewsFront RangeEnglewood


Swedish Medical Center helps reunite immigrant father with his family

Posted at 10:11 PM, Mar 02, 2018

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- A father's desperate plight to see his critically ill son, not knowing if the little boy would survive, captured the heart of a social worker at Swedish Medical Center, and she took action. Now, the boy's family describes what happened as a miracle.

At just 6-weeks-old, Ozzy Pacheco started fighting for his life.

"He just had a simple cold and being so small, it attacked really fast," said his mother, Stephanie Dovalina. "He was diagnosed with RSV. And at one point, I was worried I was going to lose my little guy."

She was by her son's side the entire time, but felt that she was alone.

"Thinking of losing your first born and being by yourself," said Dovalina. "It's one of the worst feelings ever."

Dovalina is an American Citizen, born and raised in Colorado, but her husband of more than a year, Ignacio Pacheco, is from Mexico, and has been waiting on immigration paperwork to be complete for months.

Fortunately, this family wasn't really alone.

"I do a little bit of everything," said Lindsey Kern, a pediatric social worker at Swedish Medical Center, where Ozzy was in Intensive Care. "Mom needed the support. Baby needed the support. Dad needed to be able to be with his son and see him in case they didn't have a good outcome."

Kern wrote a letter to border agents, pleading for a father to be with his son who might not survive. Pacheco flew from Central Mexico to the border and presented his plea.

"I think it was the universe kind of lining up right," said Kern. "The letter helped start it, and the chain of events that followed helped get him here."

Now reunited, the family gives Kern the credit. Pacheco was given a temporary visa at the border after the letter was verified, and for the first time, he held his son in his arms with his wife by his side.

"I was a single mom, but now that he's here we're complete, and it's a big blessing," said Dovalina.

As far as Ozzy, he is now out of the hospital and is expected to be off oxygen soon.

Pacheco has now learned he can stay in the United States with his young family as the residency application process is completed.