By Meredith Barack

CHICAGO (CBS) — A mom from McHenry is fighting for her life.

She’s in a coma, two weeks after giving birth while battling COVID-19. CBS 2’s Meredith Barack reports from Lutheran General where that mom is currently intubated in the hospital’s COVID unit.

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Samantha Kelly has been there since the end of August, when she was diagnosed with COVID-19. She is currently in a medical induced coma, and has yet to meet her newborn son, who had to be delivered seven weeks before his due date.

“It’s gonna be a glorious day for both of them.”

Donnell Kelly is imagining the moment mother and son are reunited. When that will happen, however, is unclear.

“It’s heartbreaking, to be honest.”

From inside the hospital, Kelly said his wife, Samantha, has been in the ICU fighting COVID for three weeks now. Their baby boy, born on Labor Day, is currently being treated in the NICU.

“I’m in her room now and I can’t have a conversation with her with her, which is hard,” Kelly said. “She’s been my best friend for like seven years, so it’s been really hard.”

Kelly said he had the first of his two vaccine doses when he caught COVID at the end of August. The entire family, including their five and three-year old, quarantined at home. His pregnant wife was scheduled to receive her first dose of the vaccine on Friday, August 27. But before she could make it to that appointment, she too caught COVID.

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“We did wait a little bit, just to do some more research because she didn’t know how it affected pregnant women and all that stuff,” Kelly said.

Epidemiologist Dr. Katrine Wallace said there is no reason pregnant women should be hesitant to get the vaccine, especially because they are at a very high risk for severe outcomes from COVID compared to non-pregnant people.

“We now have safety data on tens of thousands of pregnancies that you can pass COVID-19 antibodies from the vaccine to the fetus,” Wallace said.


Dr. Wallace said there have also been no reports the vaccine has any adverse effects on the newborn either. Meanwhile, Kelly remains positive that there will be a good outcome for his wife and their new baby. But he wouldn’t want another family to have to combat what he calls a different kind of beast.

“I know everyone is different, everyone has their own views and all that stuff, but I would say get vaccinated,” Kelly said.

A GoFundMe account has been set up for the Kelly family, as Donnell recently started a new job and does not yet qualify for FMLA.

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Meredith Barack