Unborn Baby’s Fingernails: Angela Cottam Nearly Killed After Fingernail Enters Bloodstream

By Amir Khan on January 8, 2013 2:19 PM EST

Fingernail
An unborn baby's fingernail almost killed its mother (Photo: Creative Commons)

An unborn baby's fingernails almost killed its mother, in what has become one of the most bizarre stories of this very early year. Angela Cottam, who was carrying twins at the time, nearly died after one of her unborn baby's fingernails entered her bloodstream, setting off a chain reaction of medical problems that not only caused her to nearly die, but led to her unborn babies being born more than two month early.

Angela Cottam suffered from preeclampsia, a condition during pregnancy which is characterized by high blood pressure and can cause seizures. She had to undergo an emergency C-section, despite the unborn babies only being 31 weeks. However, Cottam soon began suffering from shortness of breath, and doctors discovered that she had an amniotic fluid embolism.

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Amniotic fluid embolism is caused by a foreign object entering the mother's bloodstream, causing a severe allergic reaction, according to ABC News.

"It's a bad disease," Dr. Maurice Druzin, chief of obstetrics at Lucille Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University, told ABC News. "The bottom line is it's a sudden catastrophic event that causes mortality at a very high rate -- over 80 percent. But it's not very common."

The unborn baby's fingernail entered Angela Cottam's bloodstream, causing internal bleeding and one of her lungs to collapse. She ended up slipping into a coma for 12 hours and losing seven pints of blood. However, despite the unborn baby's fingernail nearly killing her, Angela Cottam made a full recovery, and is now thankful to be alive.

"I feel so lucky to be here and really blessed that both the girls are with us because it could have been so different," she said, according to the Christian Post.

She also said she sometimes wonders what could have happened if the doctors did not figure out what was wrong in time.

"There are moments when I've been on my own and I've had a little cry and thought 'What if?'" she said, according to the Daily Mail. "But I try not to dwell on that and just thank my lucky stars the doctors and midwives on duty that day recognized what was happening."

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