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Mother-of-four who died five days after giving birth due to a brain hemorrhage donates organs

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A mother-of-four who died from a brain hemorrhage just days after giving birth fulfilled her final wish by saving 12 lives through organ donation.

Kathleen Thorson, from Medford, Oregon, delivered her fourth child, a son named Theodore, on December 29.

But five days later, she was rushed into the emergency room after suffering a severe brain bleed, according to a GoFundMe page.

Despite several surgeries, she couldn’t be saved and was declared brain dead. 

But the family turned the tragedy into a blessing for a dozen others after Thorson, who was a registered organ donor, donated an unheard of 12 organs, including her heart and her lungs, to those in need. 

Kathleen Thorson, from Medford, Oregon, gave birth to her fourth child on December 29. Pictured, left to right: son Danny, son James, Thorson, son Theodore, daughter Grace and husband Jesse after Theodore was born

Kathleen Thorson, from Medford, Oregon, gave birth to her fourth child on December 29. Pictured, left to right: son Danny, son James, Thorson, son Theodore, daughter Grace and husband Jesse after Theodore was born 

Five days later, Thorson was rushed into emergency surgery after suffering an intracerebral hemorrhage. Pictured: Thorson with her husband

The severe brain bleeds are common in pregnant women and are highest during the third trimester and early postpartum period. Pictured: Thorson with her three eldest children

Five days later, Thorson was rushed into emergency surgery after suffering an intracerebral hemorrhage. The severe brain bleeds are common in pregnant women and are highest during the third trimester and early postpartum period. Pictured: Thorson with her husband, left; and with her three eldest children, right 

‘Kathleen’s condition deteriorated to a point that she could no longer survive,’ wrote Richard Stubbs, who organized the GoFundMe.

‘As was her wish, we are doing everything we can for her to be the prayed-for miracle of life for certain others in need of organ donations.’ 

An intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is a serious condition in which the brain tissue itself begins bleeding.

The most common cause is high blood pressure but others include head trauma, use of blood thinners or the spontaneous rupture of a blood vessel.

Signs of an ICH – tingling or weakness one one side of the body, severe headaches, loss of balance and slurring – aren’t always obvious. 

About one in 100 women experience postpartum hemorrhaging, and it’s more likely to occur after a Cesarean section, according to Stanford Children’s Health.

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A 2019 study by the American Academy of Neurology found that the risk for ICH in pregnant women is highest during the third trimester and early postpartum period. 

It’s currently unclear what caused Thorson to suffer the hemorrhage or what symptoms she experienced.

Once it was determine she couldn’t be saved, doctors approached the subject of organ donation with the family because Thorson was a registered donor.

‘The nurse told Jesse the chances that someone is a candidate of this magnitude is less than [one] in a million,’ Stubbs wrote on the GoFundMe page. 

‘But anyone who knew Kathleen already knew that.’

Despite several surgeries, doctors told her family she was brain dead and couldn't be saved. Pictured, left to right: son James, daughter Grace, son Danny and Thorson

Despite several surgeries, doctors told her family she was brain dead and couldn’t be saved. Pictured, left to right: son James, daughter Grace, son Danny and Thorson

Thorson was a registered organ donor and donated 12 organs, including her heart and lungs, to patients in need. Pictured: Thorson with Theodore shortly after he was born

Thorson was a registered organ donor and donated 12 organs, including her heart and lungs, to patients in need. Pictured: Thorson with Theodore shortly after he was born 

The incedible story reached actress Kristen Bell, who runs a line of baby products called HelloBello.

Bell featured one of the family’s photos on her Instagram page and awarded the Thorsons a supply of wipes and diapers for a year.

‘Jesse – our thoughts are with your family during this unimaginably difficult time. Sending peace and love your way,’ Bell wrote in a post

A GoFundMe page has been started to help cover the cost of medical bills, funeral expenses and lost wages.

As of Wednesday afternoon, more than $111,000 has been raised out of an initial $95,000 goal. 



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