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A mother and her newborn baby who were hospitalized for the novel coronavirus were officially given the all-clear this week, returning home after nearly 40 days in the hospital.
In March, Katherine Dawson, 36, of Garstang, England, developed what she thought was a chest infection. But given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, doctors quickly tested her for COVID-19, soon finding that she was positive. At the time, Dawson was 32 weeks pregnant, according to a news release from Blackpool Victoria Hospital, where she was treated.
Dawson later underwent an emergency cesarean section in an effort to protect both her and her unborn child. On April 1, her daughter, Ruby, was born two months premature, weighing just 4 pounds, 12 ounces.
Ruby was then tested for the virus. She was also found to be positive, according to the hospital.
Dawson, who was kept in isolation, kept in touch with her family through video calls. But the new mom’s condition then worsened. She was placed in a medically induced coma and required a ventilator. At the time, she was given a 50-50 chance at survival, the hospital said.
Ruby, meanwhile, was kept in the neonatal unit, where she was treated for the virus.
Dawson's husband, Stuart, was unable to see his wife or new child, only receiving daily updates from hospital staff on both of their conditions.
“It was a very challenging case and we were very concerned that she might not make it,” said Blackpool Victoria consultant Dr. Jason Cupitt, in the news release. "This was a particularly emotional case for everyone."
“Dr. Jason’s updates and the daily diaries from the neonatal [unit] were my lifelines,” said Stuart, who shares two other children with Dawson: Grace, 5, and Ava, 11 months.
"Without those diaries, Ruby and I would have been strangers,” he added.
After days of no improvement, Dawson’s condition finally began to improve, said Cupitt.
"She was deeply sedated and we weren’t seeing much change, but then, five days later, there was a spark of light at the end of the tunnel as her oxygen levels started to improve,” he said.
This week, after 37 days in the hospital, both Dawson and Ruby were discharged. They were sent off to the sound of cheering and applause from hospital staff.
“I owe my future to the staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospital. I thought I was going to be a widow looking after young children on my own, but they saved her life and Ruby’s life,” Stuart said.