As concerns grow over the dangers of variants of the coronavirus for pregnant women and young people, Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem said Sunday that a 32-year-old woman in her third trimester had died from COVID-19 and that her baby did not survive an emergency birth.
Osnat Ben Sheetrit, a mother of four small children, succumbed to complications related to COVID despite not suffering any underlying illnesses.
"Unfortunately, the mother and the fetus were in critical condition, and despite the mother being connected to an ECMO [heart and lung bypass] machine, and despite great efforts to save the fetus' life in the preemie intensive care unit, they died,” said Hadassah.
A close relative of Osnat posted her picture on Instagram and wrote: "A mother of four pure princes went through a pregnancy that she did not survive. Our hearts are broken, we do not what to do with ourselves. There is no solace."
Israel last week saw its first recorded case of a fetus dying after becoming infected with coronavirus. The mother, who went through a stillbirth at Assuta Hospital in Ashdod, tested positive for coronavirus after not reporting the symptoms she experienced.
The hospital said that if the woman had been vaccinated, she would most likely not have been infected with the virus.
According to the Health Ministry, there are 50 pregnant women currently hospitalized due to coronavirus complications.
According to the data presented by the ministry Sunday, 10 of the women are in serious condition and eight are in critical condition - seven on ventilators and one connected to an ECMO machine.
Prof. Galia Rahav, the head of the Infectious Disease Unit and Laboratories at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv, said that all of the women were in the latter stages of pregnancy and had not been vaccinated.
Most, she said, were from the Haredi sector and had other children at home.
“I believe their serious illness stems from the British coronavirus strain," she said.
"Treating coronavirus patients during pregnancy is not like regular treatments and that is why we definitely recommend vaccination, especially in the third trimester of pregnancy,” Rahav said.
Dr. Ortal Ne'eman, director of the Maternity and Fetal Medicine Unit at Ashdod’s Assuta Public Hospital also urged pregnant women to get vaccinated.
“In recent weeks we have witnessed an increase in coronavirus infections among pregnant women. The dilemma of whether to get vaccinated is understandable, but not justified,” said Ne’eman.
"So far, no women have been diagnosed with coronavirus in Israel after receiving the second jab. I plead with you, go get vaccinated to keep yourself and your fetus safe. Any hesitation means a possibility of unnecessary infection."
The Health Ministry said Sunday that there are currently 48 children under the age of 18 hospitalized with coronavirus, including six in critical condition.
While this marks an increase of eight children in two days it is below the record number for February of 50 children.