ICU Nurse Sets Up Nursery for Newborn After Mother Dies of COVID

Ralph Ellis

October 15, 2021

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

An intensive care unit nurse at Mercy Hospital in Fort Smith, Arkansas, rallied the community to help a young father whose wife died of COVID-19 after giving birth by C-section.

Ashlee Schwartz started a GoFundMe page that raised more than $12,000 for Eric Robison and created a baby registry that's brought in thousands of dollars in clothing and toys for his infant daughter, Carmen, Fox News reported.

"I just asked him, what do you have thus far? All they had were clothes," Schwartz told Fox News. "After talking a little bit, I asked him if he would mind if I started a baby registry for him. I told him, 'I can't promise you I'll get everything you need, but I will try my hardest to get you the essentials to take home with you and Carmen.'"

Robison said he was overwhelmed by the response.

​​"I did not expect this, I honestly expected a couple of gifts, $50 dollars, that's it, but it's taken off to a point that I am grateful forever, I'm eternally grateful, I'm just blown away, mostly, I'm almost bittersweet," he said.

Eric Robison, 23, and Emily, his wife of almost four years, were looking forward to being parents when Emily came down with COVID-19 and had to be hospitalized on Aug. 15. Emily, 22, was seven months pregnant.

Her breathing was labored so the hospital put her on a BiPap mask and then a ventilator. When her condition didn't improve, doctors told Robison a critical moment was approaching, Fox News said.

"They called me and they said, 'Eric, your wife has been declining for the past two and a half hours, Carmen has to come out immediately, but we do not believe your wife will make it through the C-section,'" he said.

Carmen was born Aug. 25 weighing 2 pounds 9 ounces. Emily lived until Sept. 20 with her health getting worse each day.

During that time, Schwartz noticed her in the ICU and worried the family would not be prepared when the baby left the hospital. She thought Emily might survive.

"I remember all I could picture was if Emily was going to be able to overcome COVID, more than likely, Carmen would be home before Emily. Emily was going to be in the ICU for a handful of months and then go to intensive rehab and all I could picture after that was her coming home and walking into her house and have nothing for her new baby," Schwartz said.

Schwartz was the driving force in setting up the registry and GoFundMe page. Donations started pouring in after Eric and Emily's story became national news.

Schwartz said a few more items are needed, such as more diapers. She hopes to have the nursery complete when Carmen finally leaves the hospital.

"I was doing a simple act of pay life forward, never in a million years did I ever think this would take off," Schwartz said.

Eric Robison said that neither he nor Emily had been vaccinated against COVID-19 but told Fox News he now plans to get the vaccine.

"Vaccinated or not, please take Covid seriously," he wrote on the GoFundMe page. "Had we, Emily would still be here. Thank you for the outpouring of love everyone in this community has shown me and to all the nurses who cared for Emily and are caring for Carmen. I will never forget any of you for the rest of my life."

Sources

Fox News: "ICU nurse helps young COVID-19 widowed dad fill newborn's nursery with donations"

GoFundMe: "Pay It Forward The Emily Robison Family"

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