Doctors in Abu Dhabi have saved the life of a woman and her unborn baby after she contracted Covid-19 and had to be placed on a ventilator.
The baby was delivered at 27 weeks after surgery on the woman’s heart took a turn for the worse.
Michelle Baldemor, from the Philippines, discovered that she had Covid during a routine check-up when she was 26 weeks pregnant with her second child.
Presenting with a dry cough and some breathing difficulties, Ms Baldemor went on to develop a fever prompting doctors to perform a Covid-19 test. When it returned positive, she was referred to a maternity hospital.
His middle name is Cleveland to commemorate everything the team did to support us both as he came into the world
Michelle Baldemor, mother
There, her condition continued to worsen and her oxygen requirement increased. Eventually, Ms Baldemor was placed on a mechanical ventilator to support her lungs.
In addition to having severe Covid-19 pneumonia, a subsequent chest X-ray revealed an enlarged heart and she was rushed to another hospital for an echocardiogram.
It showed that Ms Baldemor was suffering from heart failure.
Blood and fluid had collected in her lungs and the right side of her heart was unable to oxygenate blood properly, so the decision was made to transfer her to yet another hospital.
By the time she reached Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Ms Baldemor was in a critical condition.
“Our team worked on her all night to stabilise her and remove as much of the fluid build-up in her body as possible and stabilise her blood pressure and oxygen levels,” said Dr Vivek Kakar, from the Critical Care Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.
“We had a surgical team from a nearby maternity hospital on standby in case we had to deliver her baby urgently.”
If Ms Baldemor had not been pregnant, she would have been scheduled for heart surgery but the risk to the baby was too great. Instead, doctors decided to use a technique to help open the valve in her heart with a balloon.
Unfortunately, the procedure caused mitral valve regurgitation – where blood is pumped the wrong way back into the valve – and doctors decided to deliver the baby immediately.
Caleb Angelo Cleveland Baldemor was born on March 8 at only 27 weeks. Named after the hospital that saved his and his mother’s lives he was the first to be born at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi since it opened in 2015.
Caleb was placed on a ventilator to support his breathing and transferred to the NICU at a local maternity hospital.
“The problem with heart failure and pregnancy is that pregnancy exacerbates the heart failure by causing even more water retention,” Dr Kakar said.
“After the birth, we were able to focus the treatment on the Covid pneumonia and as her condition improved, we were able to take her off the ventilator while her baby continued to do well, too.”
When Ms Baldemor awoke she was congratulated by a nurse on the birth of her baby boy.
“I was so shocked because I had been unconscious for the last couple of weeks, I didn’t know what had been happening,” she said.
“That we are both here and doing well is truly a miracle.”
After recovering from Covid-19, Ms Baldemor focused on looking after her son and last month she had surgery to replace her mitral valve.
“We named my son Caleb, meaning brave, because he has already faced so much,” she said.
“His middle name is Cleveland to commemorate everything the team did to support us both as he came into the world.”
Updated: October 17th 2021, 2:05 PM