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Gainesville family remembers loss of infant, tries to help others

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By Catherine Awasthi – WUFT-FM

[audio:http://www.wuft.org/news/files/2011/10/ME-Version-Awasthi-Project.mp3]

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. And on Saturday, a nationwide day of remembrance is being held for those who have lost an infant.

WUFT-FM’s Catherine Awasthi spoke with one Gainesville family who lost one its newest members more than a year ago to a rare condition, and as she reports, the family is turning their loss into a foundation of hope for families struggling through difficult times.

Heart ventilators, IV therapy pumps—this was the soundtrack playing consistently in the background for Stuart and Nancy Palmer during the first and last days of their daughter’s life.

Kara Palmer was diagnosed at 15 weeks gestation with a rare life-threatening brain condition called holoprosencephaly (HPE). Kara’s mother, Nancy, and father, Stuart, spent 49 days with their daughter, 47 in the level-three neonatal intensive-care unit. Stuart Palmer shared Kara’s story, saying although her condition was extremely rare, it could happen to anyone.

“This is a congenital anomaly. It just happens is basically what we understood. It just happens sometimes. This crosses any and all socioeconomic barriers. This is not limited to a segment of society that may or may not receive proper nutrition during pregnancy. It’s not limited to a segment of society that has a particular religious belief that doesn’t do ultrasounds or any prenatal care like that. It can affect anybody at any time,” Palmer said.

Patrick Duff, M.D., at Shands worked with the family throughout Kara’s life. He says the basic problem with HPE is the brain does not divide into two hemispheres like it is supposed to.

Hear the full story above.

About Tom Krynski

Tom is an employee at the University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications.

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