A husband’s plea for help to keep his brain-dead and pregnant wife on life support so she can give birth to their son has been met with an outpouring of support and $133,000 in donations to pay the family’s expenses.
Robyn Benson, 32, of Victoria, Canada, was 22 weeks pregnant when her husband found her unresponsive in their home Dec. 28 after she complained of a headache, according to her husband’s blog. Doctors learned that she’d had a massive brain bleed and declared her brain dead, he wrote.
“We go see her every day and she is doing so much to grow our son,” her husband, Dylan Benson, told Canada’s CTV. “Her brain is not alive, but she still is.”
The fetus, which they named Iver, is now 27 weeks old, which means his chances of survival outside the womb are greater than if he was born at fewer than 24 weeks gestation. Robyn Benson is doing well and her doctors hope to deliver Iver in May, Dylan Benson said.
Dylan Benson, who married Robyn in July and founded a tech startup called Somethinginthemail.com in 2012, started a blog and a fundraising effort for Iver in January. He writes about the kindness of strangers and how he knows the birth of his son will be bittersweet because his wife will finally be taken off life support.
“Ugh. I don’t know what to do or think. She is my rock,” he wrote the day after learning his wife would not recover. “She does everything for us and I can’t believe I won’t get to talk to her again and now if this works, our son will grow up never meeting his wonderful mother.”
The Benson family’s story is similar to that of the Munoz family more than 2,000 miles away in Fort Worth, Texas. Marlise Munoz was declared brain dead in November when she was 14 weeks pregnant, but her husband did not want doctors to keep her on life support. However, the hospital said it was bound by state law to keep her alive for the duration of her pregnancy to save the baby. The family ultimately won the right to have Munoz removed from life support when they sued and a judge ruled in their favor.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Benson was fundraising to cover his wife’s medical expenses. This was not the case. He was fundraising to cover lost wages and other expenses related to child care.