A heavily pregnant woman from Folkestone in Kent has undergone a rare emergency operation to deliver her baby and repair a tear in her aorta to save both their lives.
The time-critical procedure took place at King’s College Hospital in London after Margaret Wang, who was 37 weeks’ pregnant, became unwell at home on the night of Thursday 22 June.
Ms Wang’s partner, Peter Warren, called the NHS 111 after she woke in the middle of the night with excruciating head and back pain. The helpline advised the couple to make their way to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford without delay.
When Ms Wang arrived at the William Harvey, her condition was jointly diagnosed by the obstetric and anaesthetic teams. Collectively, they discovered the tear in Ms Wang’s aorta ─ the major artery that carries blood out of the heart and around the body. The teams were assisted by the midwives.
As a matter of urgency, Ms Wang was sent via blue-light ambulance with her husband, a midwife and a doctor to King’s College Hospital, which is a specialised cardiac centre in the treatment of aortic disease. When she arrived, a team of obstetricians, paediatricians, cardiothoracic surgeons, nurses and anaesthetists were waiting to get her into the operating theatre.
Once under general anaesthetic, the obstetricians worked quickly to perform a caesarean section and they delivered a baby boy. The baby required help with breathing and was put on a ventilator by the paediatrician. The cardiothoracic team, led by Olaf Wendler, Professor of Cardiac Surgery, then opened Ms Wang’s chest to replace part of her aorta.
Forty-two year old Margaret, who is originally from Los Angeles but has lived in the UK for the last 11 years, is now making an excellent recovery in hospital. Her baby son, who is yet to be named, is off the ventilator and is also doing well. She hopes they will be able to return home in the coming days to be reunited with Peter and their other son, two-year-old Wolfie.