Simone Brown and baby Zane Kanowski thank their life-saving specialists: (from left) Surgeon Dr Alan Atherstone, Obstetrician/Gynaecologist Dr Edwin Ozumba and Anaesthetists Dr Deborah Simmons and Dr Annette Turley. Photo Contributed
Simone Brown and baby Zane Kanowski thank their life-saving specialists: (from left) Surgeon Dr Alan Atherstone, Obstetrician/Gynaecologist Dr Edwin Ozumba and Anaesthetists Dr Deborah Simmons and Dr Annette Turley. Photo Contributed Contributed

Mother and newborn 'miracle' to survive rare condition

SIMONE Brown really is a miracle mum.

She and her new baby, Zane Kanowski, overcame all the odds to survive a rare and complicated condition.

A team of specialists from Rockhampton Hospital are celebrating their successful "save" during a dramatic night in the operating theatre - and Simone has achieved superstar status around the hospital.

Simone, from North Rockhampton, was 33 weeks pregnant when a splenic artery aneurysm ruptured. This is a very rare condition and the odds weren't good.

The mortality rate for a ruptured splenic artery is 75% for the mother, and 95% for the baby.

Simone's journey through the operating theatres began with an emergency caesarean by obstetrician/gynaecologist Dr Edwin Ozumba who was called in at 1.30am.

He found blood coming from Simone's abdomen and called in surgeon Dr Alan Atherstone at 3.30am.

Anaesthetist Dr Deborah Simmons was on the case, keeping up Simone's blood supply and watching her blood pressure.

Simone Brown and baby Zane Kanowski thank their life-saving specialists: (from left) Surgeon Dr Alan Atherstone, Obstetrician/Gynaecologist Dr Edwin Ozumba and Anaesthetists Dr Deborah Simmons and Dr Annette Turley. Photo Contributed
Simone Brown and baby Zane Kanowski thank their life-saving specialists: (from left) Surgeon Dr Alan Atherstone, Obstetrician/Gynaecologist Dr Edwin Ozumba and Anaesthetists Dr Deborah Simmons and Dr Annette Turley. Photo Contributed Contributed

Dr Atherstone then operated and could see blood coming from behind Simone's stomach and suspected a ruptured splenic artery aneurysm. He phoned a specialist vascular surgeon in Brisbane for advice, and with consultation the Rockhampton team knew Simone would not survive a flight to Brisbane.

None of the local team had seen the condition before, which makes the story even more remarkable.

Dr Atherstone was unaware of the mortality rate at the time, but he felt plenty of pressure nonetheless.

"It was a very, very dangerous and stressful situation," he said. "She had lost a lot of blood, and she's a young lady with a baby."

Dr Atherstone was able to find the aneurysm and tie off both ends before removing Simone's spleen.

"Once we'd done that the bleeding stopped and her blood pressure came up again."

Anaesthetist Dr Simmons was delighted mum and bub are safe and sound.

"That's all that matters," she said.

"From the orderly to the surgeon this really was a wonderful exercise in teamwork."

Dr Ozumba was delighted staff made the right decisions.

"She really is a remarkable lady," he said.

Simone, who is still recovering from her ordeal in Rockhampton Hospital, says life won't be the same following her brush with death.

"Having to look at my scar, it's like that is a lifeline and it's not something I'm ever going to forget."

She and her partner, Nathan Kanowski, had been visiting family on the Capricorn Coast and she knew something was "not right".

Her normally active baby had hardly kicked, so she went to the Capricorn Coast Hospital and Health Service where Dr Clive Robb checked her out. She was experiencing excruciating pain and having trouble breathing. Dr Robb called for a second opinion in Rockhampton.

"I am so thankful that he did that because otherwise I'd probably have been sent home and it would be a whole different story," Simone said.

"Dr Robb called the specialist in Rocky and then I was put into an ambulance and brought straight up."

In Rockhampton, Dr Ozumba told Simone she'd have to have an emergency caesarean.

She recalls a room of people, and anaesthetist Dr Simmons talking her through what was happening.

"It's amazing so many people can work together to save someone's life. Different doctors who don't work in maternity have been coming down to see me, it's incredible."



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