Woman In Coma Since Car Wreck Gives Birth

In what's being called a medical miracle, a Pennsylvania woman gave birth to a healthy baby boy, after spending the last five months of her pregnancy in a coma.

It's one of just a handful of such cases on record. The baby was born last month, but only now is the family speaking about their ordeal.

"We've gone from the extreme elation of happiness to devastation all in a matter of days when the accident happened and now kind of all over again," said the baby's aunt, Michelle Phillips.

Annette Clark, 34, was just 10 weeks pregnant when authorities say a drunk driver slammed into the truck she was riding in on June 15 in Jefferson Township, Pa. The collision killed her 38-year-old husband, Glenn, a physical education teacher, and left Annette in a coma.

A Miracle Birth

Five months later, Michael Anthony Clark was born, weighing 5 pounds, 7 ounces.

Michael was the name Annette and Glenn had told family members they'd chosen for their new baby.

"It's sad because I feel like I'm enjoying him," Phillips said "We're enjoying all the things that my sister and her husband should be enjoying with him," she said.

The other driver, 26-year-old Jennifer Dawn Langston, was charged with vehicular homicide, manslaughter and other charges, at a preliminary hearing in late October.

The Clark family is still devastated by accident that spared Michael, but took so much from them.

"We have an orphan child," said Bev Miller, the boy's grandmother. "We have a son-in-law that's dead, and we have our daughter who we're not sure recognizes us or anything. Because of a drunk, this is what we have," she said.

The family says now they need another miracle.

"I tell her that she needs to come back to us so that she can enjoy him and get to know him and love him," Phillips said.

Dr. Ronald Thomas, the director of maternal and fetal medicine at Allegheny hospital in Pittsburgh, says there are a lot of obstacles to overcome when taking care of and delivering the baby of a mother who is not conscious.

"The biggest fear is infection or other problems in the mother which she can't tell you about," Thomas said. "There are an awful lot of details that have to be watched on a daily basis," he said.

In July 2001, a Kentucky woman who had been in a coma for nearly 9 months gave birth to a healthy, full-term baby girl. Doctors say a study of medical records from 1977 to 1999 show several cases of mothers who gave birth while in a comatose state, though the babies were often born a few weeks early.

Clark's baby, Michael, was delivered by Caesarean section. Thomas says it's difficult to tell when or if Clark's state will change. "I think what we do know with certainty is that she'll never be the same as before," Thomas said.

Phillips, Annette's sister, and her husband, Matthew have taken temporary custody of Michael. The Phillips also have a five month child of their own.

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