On this date in 1996, doctors finally got 21-year-old Carolina Gutierrez stable enough to survive the amputation of her gangrenous feet. She had been hospitalized since December 21, 1995, when her family had called an ambulance in their alarm over her difficulty breathing. Two days of trying to contact Maber Medical Center, where Carolina had undergone an abortion on the 19th, had yielded no help. The voice mails she left had gone unanswered. When somebody finally did pick up the phone, whoever it was had hung up on her. The young mother, who had no medical insurance, had been suffering from fever and pain since the evening of the 19th.
She had arrived at the emergency room already in septic shock. Doctors had performed an emergency hysterectomy, trying to halt the spread of infection from her perforated uterus, but the sepsis raged on.
Carolina had spent her 21st birthday as she had spent Christmas and New Year's: on a respirator, sepsis raging through her body. Her two children from a previous relationship spent most of their time in the care of relatives as her husband, Jose Linarte, spent as much time as he could by Carolina's side, waiting and praying.
The doctors hoped that once her body no longer was coping with the gangrene in her feet, Carolina could fight off the massive infection. Only time would tell if their desperate measures would be enough to save the young mother's life and restore her to her children.