NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A North Carolina man’s heart failed last month, just as his wife was about to give birth to their first child.
John Lancaster II and his wife of only eight months, Erica Hunt, were preparing for the birth of their first baby when John got sick in January.
“He was running a fever, I mean like sweating bullets, so I kinda knew something was wrong,” Hunt recalled.
She convinced him to go to the hospital. They pumped Lancaster full of antibiotics and fluids, but Hunt said he kept getting worse.
He was put on a helicopter to Norfolk, Virginia, where a team of doctors at Sentara Heart Hospital met him at his bedside.
“It was remarkable teamwork that made this man’s survival possible, it was really great,” Cardiology Specialist Dr. David Baran told WAVY.
Baran said Lancaster’s heart and lungs were both failing from an infection and an undiagnosed heart condition. The decision was made to put Lancaster in a coma. “I think he would not have survived the night,” said Baran.
Hunt said, “I tried not to think about that. I tried to remind myself he could do it. He had too much to fight, and I told him every day, ‘You have to come and fight for us.’” She never left his side, until it was time for their baby to come.
The day the doctors said Lancaster needed to undergo a lifesaving procedure was the same day baby Kimber decided to make her appearance.
Hunt said, “I was upstairs panicking and trying to deliver a child and it was a mess, but I delivered her.” She was back by Lancaster’s side just one hour after giving birth to their daughter.
Two weeks later Lancaster was out of his coma and got to meet his daughter Kimber for the first time while he was still in ICU.
“I just remember smiling and just trying not to cry. It’s my first child you know, my little baby girl,” Lancaster said.
His heart may only be working at 30 percent, but this Valentine’s Day it is full of love. “It’s pretty remarkable just to feel the love of everybody,” he said.
Lancaster’s heart condition is hereditary, so now they will be testing Kimber.
He works the night shift at 7-Eleven and has no insurance. While he’s not worried about bills — just happy to be alive — his friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help.