Danielle Gaither, 30, from North Carolina, was 39 weeks pregnant when she came to the emergency room with severe chest pains in February.
Desperate to save both Danielle and her baby, doctors made the decision to perform two operations at once: open heart surgery and a cesarean section. The surgeries, usually performed separately, took six hours and close to 20 doctors to perform.
The toll of the invasive surgeries meant she had to spend 111 days in a specialised recovery unit, unable to meet her son.
Four months later on June 16, doctors filmed the moment Danielle wept with joy as she met her baby boy KV.
“What amazes me is how our teams worked so well together,” says Joseph T. McGinn, MD, chair of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery.
“They knew what they had to do in a high-risk situation. And this time, it’s extra special, because coordinated teamwork across sub-specialties led to two lives being saved.”
Danielle’s pregnancy was always high-risk according to the Carolinas HealthCare System as the 30-year-old was born with Marfan Syndrome. The Marfan Foundation describes the syndrome as a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue. These connective tissues hold the body’s cells, organs and tissue together and can often result in an enlarged aorta. Those with the genetic disorder are up to 250 times greater risk of aortic dissection, the complication Danielle suffered.
According to the Carolinas HealthCare System, Danielle still faces a lengthy road to recovery but despite these setbacks, she knows that without the care she received, she might not have met her son at all.
Want more? Check out the latest from Demi Lovato: