A mother delayed treatment for cancer she was diagnosed with while pregnant with her baby says that the baby recently suffered a brain injury. The mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and put off her treatment while cancer had not spread to other organs.

The baby had already been sent home after spending 30 days in NICU after birth.

Brain Injury After Coding Six Times

Andrea Cole gave birth to Ariana Williams six weeks early after her pregnancy had to be induced due to her cancer diagnosis. Cole was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma during the pregnancy but she delayed the chemotherapy she would have received for fear that it would cause damage to Ariana in the womb.

When Ariana was born she weighed just shy of three pounds. After birth Ariana spent a month in the NICU and was sent home in April. This stay at home was shortlived, Ariana was rushed back to the hospital on April 12. She coded six times, as a result of being deprived of oxygen for so long she suffered a severe anoxic brain injury.

Cole says that on April 12 she noticed that Ariana was fussing a lot, which she hadn't done much of at that point. When she tried to feed Ariana she rejected it so Cole took her to the hospital. Cole says that when they went to the hospital Ariana turned purple and stopped breathing. She began to code repeatedly for six hours.

At one point doctors couldn't detect brain activity coming from Ariana. They had to place an external pacemaker that would restart her heart every time that it stopped. Cole's chemotherapy was arranged to take place in the same hospital as Ariana. Ariana began to move her fingers after a couple of months and her pupils aren't dilated anymore but doctors told Cole not to get her hopes up.

Cole is still undergoing chemotherapy for her cancer. At first, Cole denied treatment but after four weeks doctors stepped in and told her she couldn't wait longer. They had to see if cancer had spread to other parts of her body. Scans showed that cancer hadn't spread to her lymph nodes.

What Is Anoxic Brain Injury?

Anoxic brain injuries are caused when the brain is deprived of oxygen. This causes neural cells to begin to die in a process called apoptosis. Cell death is normal in the human body, when a large number of brain cells die at the same time this can diminish the person's brain function.

Once the brain is deprived of oxygen the body will try to restore oxygen levels by increasing blood flow. However, it is only possible to increase blood flow to about twice the normal level, if this isn't enough to restore oxygen then brain function will be disturbed.

Effects of anoxic brain injury could be mild with short-term symptoms such as dizziness or concentration problems. Long terms issues with the brain injury include problems with vision, speech, and memory.

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