Jessica’s Story: Mom and Twins Survive High-Risk Pregnancy and Premature Birth and are Now Thriving

Jessica Franjul-Pena is grateful for the care she and her twins, Ethan Lorenzo and Katalina, received at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network.

Because Jessica conceived through in vitro fertilization, she was monitored closely from the start of her pregnancy. When she was eighteen weeks pregnant, Jessica was diagnosed with chronic hypertension. She was immediately referred to a maternal medicine specialist at Westchester Medical Center. Ultrasound monitoring also later revealed that one of the twins was not thriving as she should have been, and doctors decided to watch the babies even more closely.  

“I had great doctors,’’ said Jessica. “They were really on top of my case, monitoring me and the babies every step of the way.”

Thirty-three weeks into her pregnancy, Jessica’s doctors discovered her liver enzymes were dangerously high. She had developed superimposed preeclampsia, putting both her and the babies at risk. At that point, her medical team decided it would be safest to induce labor even though the babies would be premature. The twins were born on December 21, 2023 and were sent to the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. Ethan spent 11 days in the NICU and Katalina spent 24 days there.  

“The NICU experience was amazing. Everyone was always so kind. It’s such a difficult job but they always remained friendly and helpful. There’s a lot to learn in caring for a preemie. They teach you so much,” Jessica said.

Now, Jessica, Ethan Lorenzo, and Katalina are all doing well.

Please give to Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital or Westchester Medical Center today!



More inspirational stories from Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital:

More inspirational stories from Westchester Medical Center:

Katherine’s Story: WMC Helps Woman Who Suffers Life-Threatening Aneurysm While in Greece

Katherine Tsetsekos is grateful for the miracle that returned her to her work and family after being so close to death.

While traveling in Greece, Katherine suffered a life-threatening aneurysm that put her in a coma. Her doctor Chirag Ghandi, MD, said that 50 percent of people who suffer and aneurysm like this one never make it to the hospital and a quarter of those never return to normal. Katherine was one of the lucky ones. Doctors at Westchester Medical Center communicated with doctors abroad, overseeing Katherine’s care until she could be flown home to Westchester Medical Center by air ambulance where she underwent multiple surgeries. With physical rehabilitation and the loving care of her two daughters, Katherine has returned to work and is picking up where she left off in her life.

“I was very fortunate, as we all are to have a hospital where miracles like this can happen.’’

Please give to Westchester Medical Center today!

More inspirational stories from Westchester Medical Center:

Donna’s Story: Heart Surgery Results in Happy Ending for Aspiring Actress

Donna James had just retired from her job as an editorial assistant at New York Medical College. After 35 years working at the college, she was looking forward to concentrating on her first love: Acting.

She was looking forward to pursuing her acting career when she noticed she wasn’t feeling quite herself. Donna went for a checkup with her primary physician, who diagnosed her with a rare tumor of the adrenal gland. Donna was referred to a cardiologist at Westchester Medical Center who closely monitored her blood pressure medication so she could safely undergo the removal of the tumor.

Today, Donna, who lives in Ossining, now enjoys the active retirement she dreamed of and thanks her doctors at Westchester Medical Center for giving her a new lease on life.

“I feel really blessed that they caught this,” she says. “Thanks to the care and attention I received, I’m now busy pursuing my dream via community theater. Hollywood here I come!”

In addition to acting, Donna is giving back to Westchester Medical Center Heart and Vascular Institute. She was recently featured as a model at our Girls’ Night Out event, raising funds and awareness for women’s heart health.

Please give to Westchester Medical Center today!

More inspirational stories from Westchester Medical Center:

Anna’s Story: Stamford Woman Grateful to WMC after Emerging from COVID-19 Coma

Anna Marie Giorgi fought her way back to life after COVID-19 left her in a coma for 10 days following the birth of her son in March of 2021. The Stamford mother, hair salon owner and Strong Woman competition organizer said the care she received a Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla was the key to her survival.

After suffering blood clots, double pneumonia and intubation, she spent more than a year with help of her extended family and Westchester Medical Center making a comeback.

“The journey has made me stronger in so many ways,” said Anna Marie. “I am grateful to the cardiac team at Westchester Medical Center and to everyone there who believed that I could make it back.’’

Anna says she has a new appreciation for her life as wife, mother and salon owner. She’s also returned to competition with new vigor. It’s just great to be alive, she says.

Please give to Westchester Medical Center today!

More inspirational stories from Westchester Medical Center:

Adell’s Story: COVID-19 Long-Hauler Patients Find Help at Westchester Medical Center

As New York faced the frightening initial wave of COVID-19 infection and illness in March 2020, Elmsford resident Adell Davis and her family were among those first to be infected with the virus. Adell, her husband Lemuel and daughter Crystal, all experienced an ominous litany of symptoms — including a loss of taste and smell. They made an appointment to get tested at Westchester Medical Center, in Valhalla, the flagship of WMCHealth. All three were diagnosed with COVID-19.

Frightened, Adell and Crystal turned to Adell’s primary care physician of 24 years, Carol Karmen, MD, of WMCHealth Advanced Physician Services, Internal Medicine, in Hawthorne. “It was fortunate that they had already established care with us,” recalls Dr. Karmen. “They were comfortable with me already. When they needed help, they knew where to turn.”

Although the family recovered from the initial infection, Adell and Crystal continued to suffer from long term symptoms including fatigue, headaches and hair loss. It was what has come to be known as COVID Long Haulers Syndrome, a condition where symptoms linger long after the initial infection subsides. Fortunately for the family, Westchester Medical Center was one of the first to establish a program to monitor and treat the condition. The Davis family is improving and has regular follow-up appointments as part of WMCHealth’s Post-COVID Recovery Program.

Reflecting on her experience, Adell adds, “I’m happy that we have such a great doctor who cares so much about us. Dr. Karmen is an awesome physician and a caring person.”

Please give to Westchester Medical Center today!

More inspirational stories from Westchester Medical Center: