NEW YORK (WPIX)—A member of the U.S. Marine Corps. has been denied the right to see his baby, who was born prematurely and now clinging to life, PIX News has learned.
Cristal Wagenhauser, 21, gave birth to Madison Rose on Oct. 3 at St. Catherine Siena Medical Center in Smithtown. The infant weighed less than three pounds and as a result was rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit at Stony Brook University Medical Center for further medical attention.
Madison's father, Lance Cpl. Keith Wagenhauser, assigned to an overseas unit that reportedly stands ready to back up troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, wanted to see his baby. However he wasn't granted emergency leave, since, under standard military protocol, personal can only be temporarily released in cases of imminent or actual death in their immediate family.
According to doctors, though, Madison is in a very fragile state. The infant's attending physician, Dr. Sridhar Shanthy, said she spoke with Wagenhauser's superior officials by telephone last week and notified them that the baby's condition could deteriorate at any time and urged them to grant him emergency leave.
So far, Wagenhauser has been ordered to stay overseas until his deployment ends sometime this upcoming winter.
Cristal, who has moved back in with her parents at their Lindenhurst home, is devastated over the news. She said she would never be the same if something happened to Madison while her husband was away and never got the chance to see his own child.
For its part, the Marines issued a statement to PIX News, making it clear that Wagenhauser had the opportunity to engage in an off-ship phone call to speak with his wife after she gave birth.
In addition, military officials said they began exploring options to get Wagenhauser home to see his wife, but by the the time the ship was in close range of adequate transportation hubs, the command received word the child was in excellent condition.
The military agency said in order for Wagenhauser to be sent home to Long Island, he must notify the command and tell them circumstances have changed - something officials say - Wagenhauser has yet to do.