Doctors Search for Explanation for the 'Miracle at Memorial'

By: Rick Montanez Email
By: Rick Montanez Email

Thousands of people across the country have been talking about this story, they’re offering up their explanation for how a so-called miracle happened. Many know the story by now, a Southern Colorado mother went into cardiac arrest during labor, and she and her baby were brought back to life after they both stopped breathing.

Now, just a week later, mother and baby are doing just fine. Their doctor at Memorial Hospital who witnessed the brush with death and performed the C-section after mom passed away, still can't find a medical explanation for the cardiac arrest.

Christmas Eve morning, Tracey Hermanstorfer went to Memorial Hospital because she was in labor. "I guess I went into cardiac arrest and I really don't remember anything after that," Tracey told 11 News in an interview Monday.

During her cardiac arrest Tracey died; she had no heart beat and was not breathing. Dr. Stephanie Martin and her team performed an emergency C-section in an attempt to save the baby. Immediately after delivering baby Coltyn, Tracey's pulse came back.

"Cardiac arrest in pregnancy is rare," said Dr. Stephanie Martin, D.O., Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Memorial Hospital. "In my personal experience, the most likely outcome is rescuing the baby and not rescuing the mom."

The last thing Tracey remembered before she momentarily died was getting an epidural. Dr. Martin says epidurals can sometime cause complications. "We did explore that, but it doesn't seem to be what caused her arrest," said Dr. Martin. Complications like Tracey's happen to about 12 out of 100,000 women a year in the U.S., according to Dr. Martin.

Often times cardiac arrest during labor is caused by blood clots, high blood pressure or hemorrhaging.

"We worked Tracey up for all of these things and didn't see any signs of it,” said Dr. Martin. “So that didn't explain her situation."

To add to the miracle, Colton had no heartbeat when he was delivered. Doctors put Coltyn's lifeless body in his father's arms and attempted resuscitation... and to their shock, he came back to life, just like his mother.

So far, there is no explanation for why Tracey died or for why she came back to life. Dr. Martin says she welcomes medical professionals to get a hold of her to help solve this mystery.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by L Location: D.C. on Jan 1, 2010 at 08:12 PM
    I am so glad that everything turned out all right for this family. The fact is that all medical procedures carry risk, and the fact that risk is low means nothing if you're one of the 12 in 100,000 who dies. As for what brought her back, it's probably very simple. With her laying on her back, the weight of the baby put pressure on her vena cava, slowing blood flow back to her heart. Once the c-section was performed, the weight of the baby was off the vena cava and she was able to rally back. I'm not saying it isn't a fabulous blessing for this family, it totally is. I wish them all the best.
  • by Jen Location: csprings on Dec 31, 2009 at 06:03 AM
    There meant to be in this world for a reason. God Bless them and there Family.
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