Mom who contracted COVID-19 doesn’t recognise newborn after suffering a brain injury

35-year-old Sylvia Leroy contracted COVID-19 in March. The US nurse likely got infected with the virus while on duty at Brookdale hospital. “She wasn’t feeling well and complained of nausea and vomiting – but she was also six months pregnant, so she didn’t make much of it,” her sister, Shirley Licin, told Anderson Cooper from CNN. Sylvia went to hospital and had a quick stay after which she was sent home with some antibiotics.

A couple of days later, the mom-to-be went back to the hospital, because she wasn’t well – she had a fever. Sylvia was tested for COVID-19 and her results came back positive. Shirley says Sylvia’s condition deteriorated rapidly in a couple of days – she had to be placed on a ventilator.

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Sylvia was taken off the ventilator a week later, and her family was hopeful that she would recover. Shirley says her sister was supposed to be discharged to go home that morning. However, that afternoon she received a call from her sister’s attending doctor telling her that Sylvia had coded.

The mom-to-be went into cardiac arrest and was without oxygen flowing to her brain for eight minutes.

She was only 30 weeks pregnant, but doctors had to perform an emergency C-section to save the baby.

Sylvia’s daughter, Esther, was born prematurely, and had to spend some time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). But she is healthy and strong says Shirley.

Pregnant Nurse with COVID-19 has brain injury

Image: Facebook @AC360

Sylvia was not so lucky – she suffered an anoxic brain injury that impaired her motor function and memory.

She is currently at a rehabilitation centre in the US where her medical team is helping her to recover. “She is smiling a LOT and even laughing (no sound as she has a tracheostomy) with her medical team. She’s not following commands yet, nor is there an established means of communication, but we understand that takes time as the brain continues to heal itself,” her sister posted in an update on Sylvia’s GoFund Me page.

Esther is at home with her dad and 3-year-old brother, Jeremiah. She is doing really well her aunt says, but as she is a premie she’ll have many appointments to ensure she continues to thrive.


Image: Shirley Licin

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