A Beautiful Life
One Year After Stroke, Mother and Baby Thrive
In just one moment, all she had was nearly lost—the beautiful life she was building with her husband Michael, and the future with her unborn son, due in just two months.
All nearly changed in just one moment.
A Spanish teacher at Central Middle School in Edgewater, Beth Finarelli suffered a stroke in March 2007, at age 28 while on duty at school. Colleagues witnessed changes in her speech. She seemed disoriented and confused. A fellow teacher—a speech therapist—feared Beth was having a stroke. In a situation in which every moment counts, this recognition saved valuable time.
Rushed to Anne Arundel Medical Center by ambulance, Beth Finarelli has foggy images of the next few days, but she recalls vividly those who rushed to save her life and the life of her baby. AAMC surgeons, nurses, support staff, technicians all were pivotal in saving Beth’s life and bringing Michael William Finarelli safely into the world.
In the operating room preparing for surgery, obstetrician Marcus Penn, M.D., and neurosurgeon Timothy Burke, M.D., assessed Mrs. Finarelli’s situation and quickly devised a treatment plan.
Rushed to Anne Arundel Medical Center by ambulance, Beth Finatelli has foggy images of the next few days, but she recalls vividly those who rushed to save her life and the life of her baby.
In the emergency room, Mrs. Finarelli suffered a series of seizures and lapsed into a coma. The team sprang into action and, minutes later, Dr. Penn delivered Michael William by emergency cesarean section. He was two months premature and weighed 4 pounds, 5 ounces. As the infant was taken to the AAMC neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), Dr. Burke surgically repaired the bleeding in Mrs. Finarelli’s brain.
As she recuperated from her surgery in one part of AAMC, the medical center’s Information Services team set up a Web cam in the NICU so she could observe her newborn son as he grew stronger each day. NICU nurse Cheryl Briggs, R.N., memorialized little Michael’s first bath with a series of beautiful photographs she took and later presented to the Finarellis.
One year after the nearly tragic events, Beth Finarelli has shown remarkable progress. She has some lingering problems walking, and is working hard to sharpen her criticalthinking skills, but somehow is able to speak three languages—and keep up with an active toddler.