Robyn Benson was just 22 weeks pregnant when she
complained of a headache and then collapsed on her bathroom floor,
according to postings on a blog and fundraising site by her husband
Dylan Benson. Her fetus, already named Iver Cohen Benson, has
continued to grow in the womb.
"On December 28th, I lost my wife to a sudden hemorrhage of blood to
her brain," Benson wrote. "Based on my decision, they are attempting
to keep her body alive for up to 7 more weeks ... Incredibly, they
have been successful in doing this for 5 weeks now."
The goal is to wait until the fetus reaches 34 weeks, giving the
baby a greater chance of survival, according to Benson. He wrote
that doctors plan to deliver his son via cesarean section and that
the baby will spend his first few weeks in hospital.
That sets up a bittersweet deadline for the family, who will welcome
a new baby and then take the mother off life support.
"It is very difficult to know that our son will grow up never
meeting his wonderful mother, and that we will have to say our
goodbyes to Robyn within hours of seeing Iver for the first time,"
Benson wrote. "She was my rock. She did so much for us, and I can't
believe I won't get to talk to her again."
The tragic story differs from a controversial case in Texas, where
Marlise Munoz, a pregnant brain-dead woman was removed from life
support at her husband's request last month after a lengthy court
battle. Her husband said Munoz had told him she did not want to be
kept on life support. Unlike the Benson baby, which is healthier,
Munoz's fetus had already suffered oxygen deprivation and appeared
to have deformed lower extremities, according to court documents.
Texas authorities had fought to keep Munoz on life support in a case
that sparked fierce debate over the rights of a fetus versus the
right to die.
A spokeswoman for the Vancouver Island health authority confirmed
that there is a patient named Robyn Benson in the intensive care
unit at the Victoria General Hospital, but was not able to provide
further details due to privacy issues.
[to top of second column]
The Benson family's plight has gripped people across Canada and
around the world, with donations on their fundraising site topping
C$85,000 ($76,700) early on Tuesday.
That has far exceeded the C$36,000 goal set by Benson, who had hoped
to raise funds for bills, baby supplies and to allow him to more
time at home with his new son after the birth.
"I just wanted to reach out and say thank you to each and every one
of you that have read our story and to those who have donated and/or
shared," he wrote on the site on Monday. "We are overwhelmed with
the response from not only the community, but now the nation and
(Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and David
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