On February 8, in Waterloo, Nebraska, the 22 weeks pregnant Karla Perez began to complain of a severe headache and soon collapsed. Doctors determined she had suffered a brain-bleed. This brain-bleed left her in the hospital completely brain dead with a 22-week-old baby still alive in her womb. The doctors had an important decision to make.
A team of over 100 doctors and nurses gathered at the Methodist Women’s Hospital in hopes to keep the fetus alive long enough to safely deliver the child. Perez needed to stay alive for 54 more days for the baby to be at an appropriate stage of development. As the deadline was approaching, the young, 22-year-old woman’s health was dwindling. Two weeks before the baby was supposed to be born, an emergency cesarean section was done. Little Angel Perez was born from his brain dead mother weighing only 2 lbs 12.6 oz. Karla Perez died two days after the operation. She was kept alive for 54 days before passing.
Angel was put in an incubator and began feeding through tube. Doctors say they are “cautiously optimistic” about the future health of the baby boy. Although the death of the young woman is a depressing tragedy, it brought forth many miracles. A baby being born from such extraordinary circumstances is a breakthrough for medicine. Karla was an organ donor, and her organs saved the lives of three people. Despite the horrid nature of the events, it is clear that good things can come from the worst tragedies.
View a photo gallery via The Methodist Health System here.