Health Team

Pregnant woman survives H1N1

Posted November 23, 2009

Pregnant women are among those most vulnerable to the H1N1 flu virus.

The Centers for Disease Control says that more than 100 pregnant women have been hospitalized in intensive care, and about 30 expectant mothers have died from the virus.

Jessica Cruz-Briscoe was weak, incoherent and seven months pregnant when her then-fiancee, Kevin Briscoe, brought her to the emergency room of Mercy San Juan Medical Center, near Sacramento, Calif.

The hospital chaplain and a doctor gave Briscoe disheartening news: "We don't know if she's going to pull through," he said.

Pregnant woman survives H1N1 Pregnant woman overcomes H1N1

Doctors at Mercy San Juan had never treated a pregnant woman with H1N1.

"That changes the whole ballgame as to how you manage a patient," Dr. Amit Karmakar said.

For 10 days, doctors tried to stabilize Jessica, and although her baby was healthy, they decided it was time for an emergency C-section.

The joy of a healthy new baby and namesake was tempered with worry for Briscoe.

"The excitement dies down, and you're like, 'Well, we have this beautiful baby boy, but mama's still in the hospital,'" he said.

Cruz-Briscoe was put into a drug-induced coma. As she came out of it, her memory was foggy.

"All the nurses kept saying, 'You had a baby.' And I'm going, 'No, I didn't,'" she recalled. "And I'd just stare at him, and I'd be in shock. Who are you?"

With close monitoring and medication, the 34-year-old survived and slowly recovered.

The near-death experience put life in perspective for the new parents: They committed to the engagement they had postponed for nine years.

"I said, 'Honey, will you marry me ?' again," Briscoe said. "She nodded yes. I said, 'Hey, it's on.'"

The couple wed on Oct. 10 – baby Kevin's due date.


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  • sixnitepkg Nov 27, 2009

    glad to hear that she's doing better, BUT they make it sound as though she's the first with that headline!
    I have got to point out that 70 other women have gotten ill recovered without any hospitalization! and lord knows how many cases in pregnant women haven't been recorded because they routinely aren't reported unless they need admission

  • scientistjo Nov 25, 2009

    househunter, you will most likely get your h1n1 vaccine at your next obgyn appt. You will be OK.

    edd189, the underlying condition in this case is pregnancy. That immediately puts the h1n1 patient in a high-risk group. The patient could go from feeling lousy and tired to severely ill very quickly. She most likely did not have the vaccine.

  • DivaMomof4 Nov 24, 2009

    househunter- I contracted H1N1 when I was 3 1/2 months pregnant, along with my 2 yr old who has a lot of respiratory issues. I called my OB, once my daughter was diagnosed, as a preventative measure. He prescribed Tamiflu symptoms started a few hours later. Luckily, we both had rather mild symptoms and both recovered fully. I was completely terrified when we were diagnosed and I know how lucky we were not to have any complications. Personally, I don't think doctors know what causes the virus to be mild in some and deadly in others and they may never know. I hope you stay well and deliver a happy, healthy baby!

  • edd189 Nov 24, 2009

    Once again the media leaves out huge details of the article that everyone wants to know. How long did she wait before seeking treatment? Was she on tamiflu or other prescribed drug flu prior to hospitalization. Did she have underlying health conditions unrelated to the pregnancy. Did she have the H1N1 vaccine. Lets dig a little deeper folks!

  • MommyAgain Nov 24, 2009

    All of this scares me. I am 9 weeks pregnant. Took us over a year to get pregnant, we were about to give up. Now I am terrified of this H1N1.

  • sssh.. whisper Nov 23, 2009

    So glad to hear the mom is recovering.. and that the baby was healthy.