Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center Provides Critical Care and Compassion to Homeless Asylum-Seeking Family

September 19, 2023

Niagara Falls, NY —  In the early hours of September 9th, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center (NFMMC) extended a lifeline to a pregnant Nigerian refugee mother, 40 weeks along, and her distressed family after being denied entry into Canada, demonstrating community hospitals’ vital role in times of unforeseen crisis.

Upon arriving at Memorial’s Emergency Department, the medical team immediately assessed her need for a cesarean section to safeguard her and her baby’s well-being.

Despite a successful delivery, the family’s ordeal wasn’t over. Due to a lack of resources and shelter, the NFMMC’s charge nurse and O.B. showed admirable compassion, ensuring that the family remained together during this crucial time, allowing the husband and their two-year-old child to stay in the same room with the mother.

“We understand the value of family, especially in moments like these,” said Brigid Sweeney, the charge nurse on duty that night. “Our primary objective was to guarantee the well-being and comfort of not only the mother, but the entire family.”

Over the following week, the Labor & Delivery unit, in collaboration with the hospital’s social workers, the P3 Center, and Child Protective Services, extended their support to the family. Their efforts encompassed organizing emergency housing and commencing processes to secure insurance for the family.

Displaying the true essence of community spirit, the NFMMC team rendered top-notch medical care and generously assisted the family with essentials: adult and infant clothing, food supplies, baby products, and more.

“Memorial’s importance to our community cannot be overstated,” said Anna Pennesi, Women’s Health Director at NFMMC. “This event accentuates our dedication, not solely as a medical institution but as a sanctuary of compassion, particularly when alternatives are nonexistent.”

On September 14th, the family began their journey to New Jersey, where relatives awaited them. With support from NFMMC, they reached the bus station, and their relatives in New Jersey ensured the continuation of their journey.

This incident underscores the integral role of NFMMC and similar community healthcare centers in ensuring care, understanding, and commitment to every individual, irrespective of their background.


Founded in 1895, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center (NFMMC) has a long tradition of serving the Niagara community. NFMMC’s hospital and primary stroke program are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care, and its primary care network is accredited by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Memorial’s inpatient services include a cardiac/stroke unit, a medical–surgical unit, an ICU, a Labor and Delivery unit, and an Adult Inpatient Psychiatry unit, the only one of its kind in Niagara County. Memorial serves as a Center for Community Health by operating five primary care centers, a large outpatient adult mental health clinic, a Health Home, and several innovative community-based services.   Thanks to a partnership with Catholic Health, Kaleida Health, and Erie County Medical Center, NFMMC operates the only cardiac catheterization laboratory in Niagara County. Memorial is also home to the Golisano Medical Oncology Center, which operates in collaboration with Roswell Park Comprehensive Care Center.

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