A strong mother who beat the odds and overcame a severe bout of COVID-19 was able to give birth to her baby while she was in a comatose state. Fortunately, she was able to hold her baby three months after giving birth.
A news release from UW Health revealed the extraordinary case of Kelsey Townsend, a mom from Wisconsin who was diagnosed with COVID-19 when she was already at the ninth month of her pregnancy. The diagnosis was made in October and she was then placed in a medically induced coma.
While she was in that state, doctors delivered her baby via a cesarean section on Nov. 4. Her baby was able to go home but since her condition worsened rapidly, she was put on a ventilator. Aside from this, she needed another machine, the ECMO in order to survive.
At that time, doctors at UW Health noted that Kelsey would have to undergo a double lung transplant in order to survive. A study from Northwestern Medicine revealed that double lung transplantation could be a life-saving treatment for patients with COVID-19 who were already suffering from fibrotic lung damage. The surgeons have found that many patients with COVID-19 endure irreversible lung damage, from which the only possible option is a double lung transplantation.
"Telling her she's that sick, she won't come home without it...it was difficult," said Derek Townsend to Fox 6 Milwaukee.
Days after she was added to the lung transplant waiting list, her condition started improving. Doctors then moved her out of the intensive care unit and by mid-January, she was also taken off the ventilator. It was quite fortunate that she was also removed from the waiting list for a lung transplant.
"We don't know precisely what allowed her lungs to start recovering after nearly two months of severe disease," said Dr. Dan McCarthy, the cardiothoracic surgeon and also the director of the ECMO program at UW Health.
"Her progress over the last couple of weeks has been quite miraculous, and although we don't know what exactly lies ahead, the possibility of complete or near-complete recovery, of return to a normal life is very real," said McCarthy.
Kelsey was discharged from the hospital on Jan. 27 and it was only then that she was able to come home to her family and hold her precious baby.