A North Carolina mother who was “in the process of actively dying” has finally held her infant son after spending more than 111 days recovering from life-saving surgery. Danielle, whose last name was not revealed, was rushed to the emergency room in February with chest pains.
The 31-year-old, who was pregnant with her son K.V. at the time, has Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue. Patients typically experience complications related to the heart, blood vessels, bones, joints and eyes, according to The Marfan Foundation.
“It’s not so common that we see someone coming so sick, and pregnant, and in such a situation that the mortality rate is pretty close to 100 percent,” Dr. Joseph McGinn, chair of cardiovascular & thoracic surgery at Sager Heart & Vascular Institute, said in a video. “She had ruptured her main artery in the heart called the aorta, and without that there’s no circulation to all the organs of the body. Now you can imagine that when there’s no circulation to the mother’s organs, then of course there’s no circulation to the baby’s organs as well.”
What followed was a six-hour operation involving a team of more than 15 nurses and doctors who operated on both Danielle and K.V., Fox 46 Charlotte reported.
“The only chance that you have to save both lives is to do the procedure at the same time,” Dr. Jeko Madjarov, cardiothoracic surgeon at Sanger Heart & Institute, said in the video.
Without the surgery, McGinn said there was a high chance that K.V. would have never known his mother. Madjarov said she was just minutes away from dying when she entered the emergency room. In June, Danielle was finally able to meet and hold her son, which Carolinas HealthCare System captured on video.
“I’m glad that I got to hold him for the first time,” Danielle said in a video.
McGinn said that he’s confident Danielle will make a full recovery.