Ascension St. Vincent

February 2023

New mom, 3 newborns owe lives to Ascension St. Vincent clinicians

A local news outlet recently shared how careful and quick action by clinicians at Ascension St. Vincent in Indianapolis helped save four lives in the delivery room this past December.

Late last year, Marybeth Weatherhead went to the hospital thinking she was in early labor. It turned out she was having a specific kind of heart attack called spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD). It happens when a tear forms in a blood vessel in the heart.

“Very serious,” Tovah Buikema, DO, maternal fetal medicine director with Ascension St. Vincent, told WTHR. "SCADs can have a very high risk for mortality for both the mom and the fetus involved.”

Dr. Buikema said SCADs are the most common form of heart attack in pregnancy and can be life-threatening – and there’s not much doctors can do.

“Most of the treatment for SCAD is just watch and wait,” Dr. Buikema told WTHR. However, she noted that fast action and care are critical, and not all obstetricians and providers are familiar with SCAD in pregnant women.

“Had she presented to a facility that didn’t have the resources, it may have gone unrecognized for a significant amount of time. I’m not sure her outcome would have been as good,” Dr. Buikema said.

After 30 days of healing, Marybeth and her husband, Ben, welcomed triplets Henry, Penelope and Archie to the world several weeks early. All three newborns now have been released from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the last only recently.

“To know that we made it that full 30 days and she’s still doing well and is able to bring home three healthy babies is a huge achievement,” Dr. Buikema told WTHR.

“And we cannot thank them enough for the care, the way they took care of Marybeth, it was incredible, but then they took care of the three babies as well, too,” Ben said.

maternal and infant health
Hospitals earned the INspire Hospital of Distinction recognition.
Women's health
Locate doctors in the Ascension network for women's wellness exams, OB-GYN or maternity care.