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A second miracle for mom who had H1N1 Flu

Posted at 3:22 AM, Jul 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-26 03:22:28-04

Danielle Abraham was a healthy new mom when she came down with the H1N1 flu in 2008.

At the time, the Depew resident had just gotten back from vacation, and thought she picked something up on the plane.  She and her husband Joe figured once she rested she would feel better, but that wasn't the case. 

"I woke Joe up and said something was wrong.  So we packed up our 8-month-old, dropped her at my in-laws, and went to the emergency room," Danielle explained.

It turns out that Danielle had come down with the H1N1 flu, which quickly turned into pneumonia, and then an infection.  Doctors induced a coma to try and give her lungs time to rest.

"Each day she got worse and worse," explained her husband Joe.  "The flu got worse, the pneumonia got worse.  That was a Monday. By Thursday they induced her into a coma.  That's how sick she was."

Danielle was eventually transferred from Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital to the Cleveland Clinic because she was so sick.  That's where doctors performed life-saving surgery by using some old-medicine techniques.

"Her lungs were actually becoming digested by the infection that started as the H1N1 influenza," explained Danielle's doctor, Dr. Sudish Murthy.  "When we opened her chest, it became apparent that we had to invent a type of operation that was classically used for patients with tuberculosis.  And perhaps described some 60-80 years ago."

Doctors collapsed the lining of Danielle's ribs onto her lungs to try and block holes that had been developing.  Then her family could only wait and see what happened.

"With the chest tube there is a box that sits on the floor, and there's a liquid in there that goes up and down when it's working.  I remember sitting there, staring at it for weeks, making sure it wasn't moving.  Because then we knew it was working," explained Joe.

Danielle slowly began to get better, and she was transferred back to Buffalo to recover, where she was able to see her then eight-month-old baby walk. 

Since her recovery, the Abraham family says they've had a second miracle - just months ago Danielle gave birth to her second daughter, making their family complete.