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Woman with 'zero percent' chance of survival wakes up after husband refused to take her off life support

Britt Jones

Published 
| Last updated 

Woman with 'zero percent' chance of survival wakes up after husband refused to take her off life support

Featured Image Credit: Good Morning America

A mum who was on life support and had a 'zero percent' chance of survival woke up two months after her husband refused to take her off.

Autumn Carver was heavily pregnant in 2021 when she was admitted to hospital after contracting the coronavirus during the pandemic.

As she had fears about a potential miscarriage due to a past of previous losses, Autumn opted out of the vaccine in order to minimise any risk to the baby.

Unfortunately for both mother and baby, Autumn caught the disease late into her third trimester.

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When placed into the care of hospital staff, she was put on a ventilator before she had to give an emergency C-section birth to her son Huxley.

However, shortly after the newborn was welcomed into the world, Autumn was placed on life support with what doctors said was a 'zero percent' chance of survival.

Zach never gave up on Autumn. Credit: Good Morning America
Zach never gave up on Autumn. Credit: Good Morning America

Things still weren’t as clear cut as it seemed though, as Autumn required an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine, which is designed to remove carbon dioxide from red blood cells and provide oxygenation.

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These very same machines were being used to treat patients with severe cases of the coronavirus and were helping to reduce the mortality rate.

Although the machines were sufficient in bad cases of the virus, the chances of survival for patients in similar situations to Autumn were not good.

After her husband, Zach, was told that 'she had zero percent chance of survival', he remembers that day as 'the worst day' of his life.

Trapped in a tight spot with little hope, Autumn then spent two months on the ECMO before being transferred from IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago in October of the same year.

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Once moved and set up to be cared for, a lung transplant was supposed to push forward but those plans were quickly thrown out as specialist surgeon Dr Ankit Bharat made the choice to give her some more time to recover independently.

His decision to overturn the transplant was due to the recovery rate of patients on an ECMO machine.

Autumn had to undergo physical, occupational and speech therapy before she could go home. Credit: Good Morning America
Autumn had to undergo physical, occupational and speech therapy before she could go home. Credit: Good Morning America

The specialist said that those who were on an ECMO machine for over a month had a less than 'five percent' chance of recovery without a lung transplant.

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Through all of this, Zach continued to support his wife and refused to remove her from life support.

Dr Bharat's decision to give Autumn more time proved to be the best choice as she slowly improved.

Thankfully, Autumn managed to regain consciousness two months after Zach refused to take her off the support machine.

Zach documented her recovery progress and Autumn finally met her son Huxley on 19 October before she earned her long-awaited discharge from the intensive care unit.

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As the mum faced many trials and tests to get back home in time for Christmas with her husband, two daughters and baby boy, she also had to undergo physical, occupational and speech therapy.

In light of her incredible recovery, doctors said it was a 'miracle' that she left hospital with only a 40 percent lung capacity and nerve damage in her leg considering the circumstances.

Even though she’ll be facing the aftermath of the incident forever, Dr Bharat believes that Autumn will still 'lead a normal life' with her family.

Topics: US News, Real Life, Health

Britt Jones
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