Because of doctors at the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Alisa Bernard was able to hold her newborn daughter Lily after being quickly taken away as soon as her delivery was finished. Bernard had to be transferred to another bed and given a small heart pump to pull blood from her heart into the aorta.
“It’s an amazing story, like something you hear about out of ‘ER’ or ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’” said Intermountain Medical Center communications director, Jess Gomez.
At the end of her pregnancy, Bernard’s heart was only working at about 5 percent of its capacity. At first, she shrugged it off as complications from her fourth pregnancy. However, when she was in for an echocardiogram at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, her doctor was alarmed and had Life Flight take her to Murray immediately.
Lily Bernard was born on Monday, Nov. 10 with her mother not being able to push or strain her heart. Lily was born with doctors using forceps, and her mother did not know she was OK until she heard her daughter cry and hand clapping and cheering around the room.
“Of all the hospitals I’ve been in, I can’t say that I’ve had an opportunity to pull together an incredible group like this in such a short period of time,” said IMC advanced heart failure/transplant cardiologist, Patrick W. Fisher, MD. He lead the team who cheered when Lily was successfully delivered.
As soon as Lily was born, Bernard was transferred to another bed, where Dr. James Revenaugh, a cardiologist at IMC, inserted the small heart pump. He agreed that the procedure was one of the most challenging IMC has had. He described the procedure as a “medical Rubik’s Cube.”
The pump Revenaugh inserted is an Abiomed Impella 2.5 and is the smallest pump available in the United States. It was only recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
“This was an extremely complex and high-risk situation with the potential for catastrophic outcome for both Alisa and her baby,” said Revenaugh.
Bernard’s heart is still recovering, and doctors have said that if it doesn’t return to full function, she will have the same risk in any other pregnancies. Bernard and her husband, Paul, currently have three boys ranging from ages 2 1/2 to 13 years old.
“She’s sailing right along,” said Revenaugh.
Alisa and Lily Bernard went home last Sunday. “I feel lucky to be alive,” said Bernard in a a press conference. “The nurses were wonderful... I’m amazed at their dedication and feel really blessed.”
Bernard now has an implanted defibrillator and her heart is still weak. However, she and her husband agree they have a lot to be thankful for today.