At the end of March, an Israeli woman came to the maternity unit at Sheba Medical Center suffering from nausea and vomiting. She is a mother of four and lives in Bnei Brak, a densely populated neighborhood located just east of Tel Aviv, which has one of the highest rates of coronavirus infection in the country.
When she was admitted to the hospital, the 26-year-old woman was unaware that she was ill with COVID-19. However, she was tested shortly after arriving and the results came back positive. When her contractions began, she was moved into a delivery room custom-designed for coronavirus patients.
The delivery room was planned with negative pressure and a minimal amount of equipment to enable the medical staff to maneuver more efficiently while outfitted in their bulky protective gear.
However, as the mother’s labor progressed, she went into respiratory distress and was rapidly transferred into a specially prepared operating room. While intubated and hooked to a ventilator, doctors performed an emergency C-section. The surgery was successful, and a healthy baby boy was born, weighing a bit under 6 pounds.
The newborn was tested immediately for COVID-19, and results were negative. However, the mother has not been able to hold him because she is still fighting the disease. Now, after a week spent hooked up to lifesaving ventilation at Sheba’s critical care unit for coronavirus, the mother is recovering and is expected to be discharged within the next week. At that point, the much anticipated mother-baby reunion will occur.
Due to Sheba’s foresight to prepare this special delivery room in advance, several more babies have been born to mothers with coronavirus since this boy was delivered. Each baby was born healthy and tested negative for COVID-19.
“Thankfully, at Sheba we are always thinking two steps ahead and we had both the delivery room and operating room fully prepared to handle coronavirus patients. We were able to move quickly to perform an emergency Cesarean section and deliver a healthy and happy baby boy,” said Prof. Eldad Katorza, senior physician at Sheba’s Gynecology and Maternity Center, in an interview with the New York Post.