Gift of life given to mother and newborn baby

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DENVER, Colo. – No gift is as precious as the gift of life. A Denver woman realized that this year, when staff members from Swedish and Rose Medical Centers saved her life and the life of her newborn son.

This all started months ago, when a then 8-month-pregnant Mandy Banks had an awful headache. The headache transitioned into slurred speech and eventually into something worse.

Having worked at the American Heart Association, Banks figured it was a stroke. She was right.

“To this day I still can’t believe this happened to me at 28,” Banks said.

Doctors referred to it as a hemorrhagic stroke. Banks actually had a blood vessel pop in her brain. “And that’s a sign someone has so much pressure inside their skull that they’re herniating their brain stem,” said Dr. Kara Alexandrovic, from Rose Medical Center.

Immediately, doctors performed a C-section on Banks to save her baby. Moments after he was born and Banks was stitched back up, doctors gave Banks an MRI.

The MRI confirmed the popped blood vessel. She was airlifted to Swedish Medical Center and underwent intense surgery there.

“We deal with a lot of tragedies in our profession and to be honest, I expected this to be another tragedy,” said Dr. Adam Hebb, a Neurosurgeon at Swedish Medical Center. “In Mandy’s case, seconds and minutes meant a huge difference to her”.

Ultimately, Hebb and his medical staff ended up saving Banks’ life. By all accounts, Hebb said she shouldn’t have survived – but she did.

Banks knows how lucky she is.

“I think about them every day of my life because every day of my life – from here on out – was given to me because of them,” said Banks.

Banks said she feels normal again. Her speech is back and her baby boy is as healthy as can be.

This Christmas she’s thankful for the men and women who saved her life. On Wednesday, Banks’ doctors, nurses and other medical staff members surprised her and wished her well.

“When horrible things happen to people you’re never prepared for them. You look at life differently. Every day is an amazing day because you have no idea what tomorrow can bring,” she said.

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