It was a medical emergency fit for an episode of Grey’s Anatomy — Doctors at St. Paul’s Hospital managed to save a young, pregnant woman and her baby after the mom went into sudden heart failure.
Twenty-six-year-old Brittany Forrest, seven months pregnant, was at home in Courtenay when she felt something wasn’t right.
Forrest had an increasingly complicated medical situation. Doctors determined she was in heart failure caused by a rare allergic reaction.
“We knew that Brittany was very sick and we also knew we were dealing with not just one patient but two, herself and the unborn baby,” Dr. Mustafa Toma, Forrest’s cardiologist at St. Paul’s, said.
Fortunately, the allergic reaction responded to treatment.
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“We thought we had weathered the storm, but that being said, we were prepared for the worst,” Dr. Toma said.
And at 3 a.m. on April 12, matters took a turn for the worse.
Dr. Toma said he got a page from the CICU and knew instinctively that it would be about Forrest and her baby.
She had gone into cardiac arrest.
Doctors began CPR on Forrest, giving Dr. Elisabet Joa, the obstetrician in charge, mere minutes to perform a C-section.
“We quickly delivered the baby while Brittany was still being resuscitated, so having CPR and shocking of the heart,” Dr. Joa said.
Born two months premature, baby Jaxon was whisked away to Children’s Hospital while his mom was rushed to the operating room and put on a heart and lung by-pass machine.
Forrest’s heart pump was removed after a few days on life support and her heart function normalized back to where it should be.
It took more than a dozen different specialty units to save Forrest and her baby’s life.
“I’m just glad I’m here and the baby’s okay. I’m thankful for the hospital for giving me another chance,” Forrest said.