SACRAMENTO -- Tears were shed at Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento when the medical staff who tended to Vivian Santos and her baby, Stella, got a final thank you from the family before they left for their home in Brazil.
Santos fell unconscious on New Year’s Eve with symptoms of a stroke just two days before she was to deliver her third child. She was taken to the emergency department at Sutter Davis Hospital by her husband Herberton, a visiting scholar at UC Davis.
Stella was delivered after an emergency cesarean section but Santos was in critical condition and quickly flown to Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento.
"I could see her going to the helicopter in very bad condition and so I was very scared," said her husband. "I was waiting for a miracle because I was starting to think she was going to pass."
Vivian Santos was taken directly to the operating room, where neurosurgeons performed emergency surgery to stop the bleeding in her brain.
She recovered after lots of rehabilitation work and Stella is a healthy 4-month-old.
Wednesday, using her husband as an interpreter, a tearful Santos expressed heartfelt thanks to the Sutter team who saved her life and helped her deliver Stella.
"Sometimes I don’t have words to express myself to say how much I am thankful for everyone," she said.
Attending the gathering were not only doctors but nurses and staff who cared for Stella while her mother was recovering. Staff members also took in the couple's two young sons so Herberton Santos could attend to his wife.
Herberton said even though he is a scientist, he believes God worked through the doctors at Sutter to help save his wife and daughter.
As for many of the medical staff who see their share of tragedy, it was an outcome they say they will cherish.
"It’s something I and other doctors still talk about. I’ll remember it my whole life,” said Sutter Medical Center neurosurgeon Dr. Rudolph Schrot.