Doctors performed an emergency C-section to save Aurora Esparza’s daughter in late June, but the mom of three died a month later

By Julie Mazziotta
July 23, 2020 12:02 PM
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Aurora Chacon Esparza

A Minnesota woman with COVID-19 has died, just weeks after giving birth to her daughter through an emergency C-section while on a ventilator.

Aurora Chacon Esparza, 35, started experiencing COVID-19 symptoms in the first week of June, when she was 7 months pregnant with their third child, her husband, Juan Duran, wrote on their GoFundMe page. An initial COVID-19 test came back negative, but with Esparza coughing non-stop and having trouble breathing, they decided to go to the hospital.

On June 19, after five days at North Memorial Hospital near Minneapolis, doctors put Esparza on a ventilator.

“She is a 35-year-old healthy woman with no pre-existing conditions,” Duran told Fox 9 on July 9, before her death. “We never thought this could happen to our family.”

But Esparza’s condition continued to decline, and on June 23, doctors performed an emergency C-section while she was intubated on the ventilator in the hopes of saving both her and the baby. Their daughter, Andrea, was born at 30 weeks and is “doing very well,” Duran said on their GoFundMe.

“She’s 4 lbs., 2 ounces now and her heart is doing great,” he told Fox 9 on July 9. “She can breathe by herself. She eats, she smiles, she cries.”

After the delivery, Esparza's oxygen levels went up and she appeared to improve. But on July 7, “things took a turn to the worst,” Duran wrote.

“At this time the ventilator is giving her oxygen at 100 percent. They have given her some treatments but the doctor says that apart from that — they can’t do anything else.”

Duran initially looked into having Esparza put on an ECMO machine, which would perform heart and lung functions for her, but North Memorial Hospital does not offer it as a long-term treatment, and doctors believed it “would do more damage than help,” Duran said.

On July 19, a month after she was intubated, Esparza died.

“I have faith in God that she is with him and has moved on to better life,” Duran, her partner for 17 years, wrote. “We will forever miss her and remember her for the strong, loving and caring person she was.”

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