Gift of Life

WSVN — In a season that’s all about giving, one family’s donation to a local hospital is saving other babies’ lives. 7’s Diana Diaz has the heartwarming story on a gift of life.

Sarah Steinmetz has so much be thankful for this holiday season. Her baby girl, Charlotte, is happy and healthy — but that wasn’t the case just 14 months ago.

Sarah Steinmetz: “He said, ‘I don’t think she is going to make it. If she is, she’s probably going to be brain dead.'”

While in utero, Charlotte developed a condition where she wasn’t getting enough oxygen and blood flow to the brain.

Dr. Tony Adams: “For all practical purposes, Charlotte was dead at birth. She needed to be resuscitated.”

Mount Sinai doctors would immediately put the infant on a cooling blanket. It’s a water-filled blanket that lowers the baby’s body temperature to 33.5 degrees.

Dr. Tony Adams: “We keep the cooling blanket on for 72 hours.”

Doctors say the cooling helps slow down the body’s inflammatory response.

Dr. Tony Adams: “Their mortality is reduced and we reduce all the injury that has occurred, specifically brain injury.”

In the past, Mount Sinai had no way of treating babies with this condition. However, another family who also suffered the loss of a child, made a donation so the NICU could buy the ‘blanket’.

Veronica Zorzi: “We were trying to give a sense to something that doesn’t making any sense. Losing a baby doesn’t make sense.”

Veronica Zorzi gave birth to twins at only 24 weeks. Her boy, Michael, survived. The baby girl did not.

After spending six months at Mount Sinai, she wanted to give back to the staff who helped them through this tough time.

Veronica Zorzi: “I’m so happy that we could help doctors and nurses save lives.”

Just a few weeks ago, Sarah got to meet Veronica and thank her for a gift that saved her daughter’s life.

Sarah Steinmetz: “Without the donation of this mat, there would be no Charlotte. I want to know them for the rest of my life. I want Charlotte to know them forever.”

Dr. Tony Adams: “One family’s misfortune became another family’s fortune. Truly, it’s not just a miracle, it’s a blessing. I never stop to marvel at how important it is to give back.”

Dr. Adams says that so far, Charlotte is not showing any signs of developmental problems. He also says the cooling blanket has saved five babies since the Zorzi family’s donation in 2011.