Pregnant woman struck by lightning gives birth, expected to make full recovery

Meghan Davidson was walking in her neighborhood when she was struck.

July 05, 2017, 2:51 PM

— -- A pregnant mother who was struck by lightning and delivered her baby by emergency cesarean section has been moved out of ICU and is improving, according to her husband.

“She is doing a lot better,” Matt Davidson, of Fort Myers, Florida, told ABC News today.

Davidson’s wife, Meghan Davidson, was walking alone near the family’s home last Thursday when she was struck by lightning.

Meghan Davidson, who was in her third trimester, was taken to a local hospital where the couple’s son, Owen, was delivered via C-section. Davidson did not provide an update on Owen, saying only that the newborn is still hospitalized.

“It’s just a waiting game at the moment,” he said.

Meghan Davidson is currently in fair condition at Lee Memorial Hospital, a hospital spokeswoman told ABC News.

911 calls provided to ABC News by the Lee County Department of Public Safety show that neighbors responded immediately after Meghan Davidson was struck. One neighbor told the 911 operator he could not find a pulse and was later instructed to use his own shirt to wedge as a cushion under her back.

Another neighbor told the 911 operator he was outside with his son and saw Meghan Davidson walking. He described the weather at the time as “a little cloudy but no rain or thunder or lightning that we could tell.”

“Then all of a sudden there was a flash of lightning,” he told the 911 operator. “It startled my son.”

Meghan Davidson’s mother was inside the home watching the couple’s two older children, ages 2 and 14 months, when the lightning strike occurred, according to Davidson. She can be heard on the 911 call coming to the aid of her daughter.

Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told ABC News that it is “quite rare” to see an instance of a pregnant woman being struck by lightning.

“It’s pretty rare to get struck in general and for a pregnant woman it’s even less common,” he said.

Lightning strikes in humans can cause injuries to the nervous tissue, electrical burns, bleeding in the brain and injuries to the spinal cord, according to Glatter. Chronic side effects from lightning strikes can include pains like headaches, nausea, seizures, ear ringing and difficulty sleeping, he said.

The first priority with a pregnant patient in a lightning strike would be to resuscitate the mother and then deliver the baby as soon as possible, Glatter said.

“If they didn’t have a stillbirth that’s quite a miracle,” said Glatter, who was not involved in Meghan Davidson’s treatment.

Davidson called his wife’s and son’s recoveries a “miracle” but said he and his family are not prepared to share further details at this time.

“[Meghan] is looking at a full recovery and we’re just going to continue progressing with that at the moment,” he said. “When she gets better we will talk about what we want to do and how to glorify God and what he’s done through all of this miracle.”

Glatter said people outdoors should pay attention to warnings of lightning, which increases in the summer months, and seek shelter inside.

“You want to be in areas of the home where there is low conductivity, so a bathroom or in a tub,” he said. “And stay away from metal objects, anything that could be a conductor of electricity.”

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