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"Miracle" North Branch baby survives, and thrives, after 16 minutes without oxygen or heartbeat

Minnesota baby survives after 16 minutes without oxygen, heartbeat
Minnesota baby survives after 16 minutes without oxygen, heartbeat 03:24

NORTH BRANCH, Minn. -- Doctors are calling a North Branch baby's survival a miracle.

Back in February, Owen Hubert spent the first 16 minutes of his life without oxygen and without a heartbeat. But doctors and nurses never gave up on him.

"He likes smiling. He's been laughing a lot," said his mother, Stephanie Silva.

When you see baby Owen today, it's hard to believe that he came within a minute of not being here.

"As soon as they couldn't find the heartbeat then I kind of figured something might be wrong," said Stephanie.

In February, Stephanie knew something wasn't right. She went into labor at Mercy Hospital with chest pains, and doctors discovered her baby's blood supply had been cut off. They quickly prepared for an emergency delivery.

"I broke down a little bit, I guess. I heard them call for a code blue for the neonatal," said dad Mason Hubert. "I thought I was going to lose one or both of them for sure."

As this was happening, Stephanie said she asked herself "is my baby going to die?" She said doctors couldn't tell her if Owen was going to be OK.

When Owen was born a short time later, he wasn't breathing and didn't have a pulse. For 16 long minutes, the medical team worked feverishly to try and save his life.

"It was getting very close to a time when we may have said that this isn't survivable, and we would have stopped trying to resuscitate. He was really approaching that time period," said Dr. Heidi Kamrath of Children's Minnesota.

But then doctors at Mercy got a pulse, however faint. And then Owen took a breath for the first time in his life.  


For a newborn to survive 16 minutes with no oxygen and no heartbeat is rare. Surviving without any long-term health effects is even more unheard of.

"A lot of the nurses kind of told us, they said there will be damage, we're just not quite sure the extent of them," said Stephanie.

But there wasn't. Despite a traumatic start to life, Owen has passed all the developmental milestones at Children's Minnesota and there are no signs of brain damage. He was sent home just 11 days after he was born.

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"The gentleman I spoke to told me he never used the word 'miracle' before his whole career until he seen this," said Stephanie.

Owen's medical team believes much of the credit goes to doctors and nurses, and to something called a transport isolette. It's what was used to transfer Owen from Mercy Hospital to Children's Minnesota.

"We actually slow down their body to let time for recovery and keep the body cool," said Dr. Kamrath.

She says cooling Owen's body for 72 hours allowed him to beat the odds. Children's delivers 3,000 babies a year, but they won't forget Owen anytime soon.

"Anytime you have a story that really kind of exceeds your expectations, that's what keeps you going, and doing this job is having those wonderful outcomes," Kamrath said.

One twist to all of this, Owen was born on Feb. 8, which just happens to be his sister Hazel's birthday.

"She helps me a lot...not the diaper changing quite yet [laughs]," said Stephanie.

Thankfully, there's still time for that.

Owen's parents want to thank the doctors and nurses at both Mercy and Children's. Stephanie says blood pressure medication a health care provider prescribed may have led to delivery issues. She advises other expecting mothers to get a second opinion if taking medication during pregnancy.

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