Part 2: Alexandra Malusevic ... 2 lives instantly change

April 04, 2011

Each time Alexandra Malusevic's heart beat, a mammoth blood clot hooked to the tricuspid valve fluttered like a kite on a string. If the clot broke free, it could instantly kill Alex and her unborn child.

Doctors disagreed about what to do.

Should they leave the clot alone and hope it wouldn't detach? Or slice open Alex's chest and extract the clot while monitoring the fetus? Or take the baby in a cesarean-section one day and perform heart surgery the next? They even considered simultaneous open-heart and C-section surgeries.

All Alex wanted was to deliver a healthy baby, preferably in a water birth attended by a midwife. But her natural-birth plan spiraled out of control beginning Jan. 5, when a hit-and-run driver in a black Nissan Pathfinder ran her over in a downtown crosswalk as she crossed with the walk signal. The SUV's tires left tracks on Alex's body, missing her belly by inches.

She was 35 years old and 29 weeks pregnant.

Her injuries, including a broken left ankle, pelvis and sacrum, plus small fractures that spread like veins in her lower spine, caused blood clots in her lungs and the big one in her heart.

After discovering it, doctors transferred Alex to Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, equipped with heart specialists and a neonatal intensive-care unit for her baby.

Read the full article, part two of a three-part series, on OregonLive.