Karen Sclafani

Near the end of Karen's pregnancy with her first baby, her midwife diagnosed pre-eclampsia, a dangerous condition that affects about 5 percent of all pregnancies, by finding protein in her urine and high blood pressure. She advised bed rest and cancelled plans for a home birth. Karen and her husband packed to go to the hospital.

The obstetrician on duty decided that a vaginal deliver would be the safer option, considering Karen's dangerously high blood pressure. She was given Cytotec to induce labor. Karen's six-pound baby girl was born four hours later, a vacuum extractor delivery.

Karen's husband wrote that it was during the post-natal surgery to remove the undelivered placenta that Karen suffered a major and ultimately fatal loss of blood. Karen's hemorrhaging practically bankrupted the state's supply of AB blood. Highway Patrol troopers were delivering blood products from all over on Feb. 5 as surgeons struggled to save Karen's life. More than 20 units of other people's blood were poured into Karen. These days I open my vein for the Red Cross every few months. I aim to eventually give all that blood back and then some, he wrote.

Karen's own grandmother Teresa had died of toxemia following the birth of Karen's mom Tina.