A Nigerian rheumatology consultant was able to take her newborn twins home after giving birth while she was in an induced coma being treated for coronavirus —USA Today
UK worker known as Perpetual Uke, who works at Birmingham City Hospital in England, began to feel sick in late March and was quickly hospitalized, placed on a ventilator and put in an induced coma to help her recover, according to Gemma Holder, consultant neonatologist at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.
Doctors wanted to turn Uke on her stomach so that she could breathe, but couldn’t do so while she was pregnant, Holder said. So, when the babies reached 26, weeks they were delivered by cesarean section on April 10.
Sochika Palmer weighed a little more than 1.6 pounds, while her brother Osinachi Pascal was a little more than 1.8 pounds. Holder said the babies were put on breathing machines and suffered a few complications as a result of being born so young.
Her recovery treatment continues at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham while the twins were transferred to a specialist neonatal intensive care unit at the Birmingham Women’s Hospital. Uke remained in a coma for another 16 days as her husband, Matthew, spent time with the twins and their other children, Nnamdi Ronald and Chisimdi Claire.
“It was really terrifying … every passing day I was hoping my wife was not among those who are dead,” her husband told the BBC. “We are a team; the idea she might not be there was really difficult to accept.”
As Uke woke up with suffered confusion as a result of being in intensive care for so long, and initially believed she’d lost her twins, husband and other children. She said she was unable to meet her newborns for more than two weeks after waking up.
“The first time I met the twins was very emotional,” she said. “I was happy that we were all alive, but obviously concerned about their severe prematurity, which has its own risks. I had never wanted them to go through this difficult path at the start of their lives.”
Uke returned home after more than a month in the hospital. After 116 days, the twins were discharged.
Sources said the hospital celebrated with cake, and staff lined the walls and clapped as the family left. Holder said the hospital had never seen children born so premature to a mother so sick and that it was “heartwarming and uplifting” for the staff, who lost one of their own to COVID-19.
“Them all leaving as a family unit it was a lovely celebration,” she said. “It’s such a miracle.”