A Tragic Story Of A Mother Who Got Married In Her Hospital Bed While Hooked To A Life Support

Published on 05/21/2021
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Wedding days are often among the most fondly recalled events of our lives. And if the most treasured memories are of the service or the celebrations that follow, they are also memories that last a lifetime. So Toni Carroll and Jesse Welsh may have hoped that their wedding day, which took place in May 2019, will be memorable as well.

A Tragic Story Of A Mother Who Got Married In Her Hospital Bed While Hooked To A Life Support

A Tragic Story Of A Mother Who Got Married In Her Hospital Bed While Hooked To A Life Support

Ordinary wedding?

This wedding, on the other hand, was far from ordinary. Carroll and Welsh exchanged vows in a church, but they were in a hospital in Melbourne, Australia, at the time. Carroll was a patient there, you know, despite being diagnosed with two critical illnesses in the winter of 2018.

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Ordinary wedding?

Shocking growth

Carroll had found a growth on her neck while pregnant with her second child, which was shocking. The mother was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma after giving birth in December 2018: she had the disease Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which had the ability to limit her future. That, though, will not be the end of her ordeal.

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Shocking growth

Sent To ICU

Doctors also informed Carroll that she was suffering from severe heart disease. The mother was later sent to an intensive care unit (ICU) at The Alfred, a nearby hospital. Although a loving Welsh later proposed and the two wed, Carroll’s health problems clouded their happiness. Following the ceremony, the Australian woman was to undergo high-risk surgery.

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Sent To ICU

Childhood Sweethearts

Forming an intimate relationship with another person may be very difficult for certain people. There are many explanations for why an individual may seem unlucky in love, including timing and shyness. Welsh and Carroll, on the other hand, proved to have no such issues while they were younger, when the two were childhood sweethearts.

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Childhood Sweethearts

Since High School

Carroll and Welsh, now Melbourne residents, met in high school and became fast friends. And their romance flourished as well, with the pair becoming engaged in 2014. However, their wedding celebrations were eventually postponed – albeit not for the last time.

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Since High School

Unexpected Pregnancy

After all, when Carroll found out she was pregnant with her and Welsh’s first child, the pair had to rethink how they might invest the money they had set aside. And after Carroll gave birth to a daughter called Amelia, the happy parents couldn’t save any money for their upcoming wedding.

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Unexpected Pregnancy

Second Time Around

Carroll and Welsh, you know, find out they were hoping again in 2018. “Toni is pregnant, so we wasted all of our resources on tubes, formulas, and so on,” Welsh explained to the Australian television program Sunrise in June 2019. “[And] when the second one came up, we were thinking, ‘Well, there goes the wedding fantasy again.’”

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Second Time Around

A Growth Inside

During this time, Carroll did find a growth on her neck, which understandably bothered her. And, though she went on to have baby Madisyn in December 2018, whatever excitement she and Welsh may have had at the birth may have given way to anxiety about the future.

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A Growth Inside

Diagnosed

Carroll was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma after Madisyn’s arrival, but she was also diagnosed with severe heart disease. So the mom of two’s universe was flipped upside down during what was supposed to be one of the best times of her life.

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Diagnosed

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

The origin of Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a medical disease dates back to 1832 when British doctor Thomas Hodgkin wrote on a series of intriguing cases at Guy’s Hospital in London, England. He clarified that the seven patients in question also had enlarged lymph nodes, implying that their ailments were at least close, if not identical. The physician’s thesis was also published in a journal published by the Medical and Chirurgical Society of London.

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Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Unknown Since 1865

However, many people did not acknowledge Hodgkin’s research in the medical world until 1865. Then, a man named Samuel Wilks had researched what seemed to be the same circumstances nine years before and had compiled his own paper. When Wilks realized he wasn’t the first to make those findings, he published another paper that mentioned “Hodgkin’s disease.”

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Unknown Since 1865

New Discoveries

Then, over time, researchers began to discover more about what has become known as Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It was discovered, for example, that this specific form of cancer could be successfully treated by radiotherapy. Today, patients are handled in the same way to combat the illness – though chemotherapy is an alternative.

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New Discoveries

Fighting Cancer

Carroll was then exposed to chemotherapy to help fight her cancer; however, the cardiac damage was arguably a more significant problem. Although the origin of her cardiac disease remained unknown, scientists have identified specific risk factors that may lead to a failure of heart function.

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Fighting Cancer

Heart Disease

According to the Mayo Clinic website, “heart damage, also known as congestive heart failure, happens anytime the heart muscle can not produce blood as effectively as it can.” Certain factors, such as compressed arteries in the heart or elevated blood pressure, eventually weaken or stiffen the heart, making it incapable of filling and pumping efficiently.”

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Heart Disease

It’s Reversible

Nonetheless, the dilemma is manageable. “Not all diseases that contribute to cardiac disease can be reversed,” the Mayo Clinic explains. “However, medications can reduce the signs and effects of heart failure and help you survive longer.” “Changes in lifestyle, such as exercise, lowering salt in your food, controlling tension, and gaining weight, will increase your quality of life.”

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It’s Reversible

The Alfred Hospital

On the other hand, Carroll was still in the grip of the disease, and her dire prognosis led to her transfer to The Alfred hospital in Melbourne. The hospital, named after the 19th-century British royal Prince Alfred, specializes in treating heart and cancer patients, among other things.

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Prince Alfred Hospital

He Was Shot

In reality, Alfred had his own brush with death when visiting Australia in 1868. At a Sydney gathering, a man named Henry James O’Farrell shot the prince, critically injuring him. Fortunately, O’Farrell was stopped from attacking the royal again, and he was convicted and hanged. Following Alfred’s rehabilitation, two hospitals were named in his honor, including, of course, the Melbourne clinic.

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He Was Shot

Deteriorating Emotionally

Carroll’s heart disease was a source of real anxiety when she became a regular at The Alfred, not least because her health seemed to be deteriorating. “Toni was admitted to The Alfred from another institution for care with increasingly progressive and possibly lethal cardiac failure,” Dr. Dashiell Gantner clarified in June 2019 on the facility’s website.

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Deteriorating Emotionally

Induced Coma

Carroll was then put in an induced coma by her physicians at The Alfred due to the seriousness of the case. However, as Gantner will demonstrate, the mother was still hooked up to a life-support system that helped to maintain her vital functions running.

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Induced Coma

Cardiac Pump

“Toni has spent some time on an ECMO machine,” Gantner explained to The Alfred’s page, referring to a system that relieves strain on the lungs and heart. “Recently, she was treated with a kind of cardiac pump.” And, at one stage of Carroll’s recovery, Welsh was informed that his wife had just a few days to live.

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Cardiac Pump

Major Heart Operation

Carroll, fortunately, clung on, even though she needed a major heart operation. Finally, Welsh decided after physicians informed the mother’s relatives that she could not survive the operation. Yes, he decided to ask his partner if she wished to marry him again, anticipating that the pair would follow through this time.

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Major Heart Operation

Short Notice Wedding

Carroll approved Welsh’s new suggestion just a few days before her heart surgery in May 2019. As a result, workers at The Alfred were forced to arrange a ceremony on very short notice. And nurse Paul Leonard, who was one of those working as a “wedding coordinator,” went on to share how much staff members went to make the couple’s big day memorable.

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Short Notice Wedding

Wedding At The Hospital

Leonard reveals in a video posted to The Alfred’s YouTube channel in June 2019 that “Toni and Jesse shared a wish to get married.” “We sent an email to all of the ICU employees, wondering who wanted to participate. And we got a huge answer, so we have people making cookies, people wanting to help get the space packed, and people wanting to decorate.”

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Wedding At The Hospital

No Escape From Hospital

Carroll’s illness suggested she couldn’t escape her hospital room so that it wouldn’t be a concern. So instead of going down the aisle, the bride-to-be was to be wheeled into the facility’s sanctuary, where Welsh and her relatives awaited her. And, in the days leading up to the wedding, Leonard commented on how the Australian woman had treated the occasion.

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No Escape From Hospital

Eager

“[Carroll has] been so eager to schedule a wedding – much as every other bride will be excited to plan a wedding,” Leonard said in the YouTube video. “Yet we realize she’s doing so from a hospital bed, though seriously ill.” So naturally, arrangements had to be made to accommodate Carroll’s health conditions.

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Eager

The Unexpected

Jayne Sheldrake, an ICU nurse, will have some insight into the operation. Given Carroll’s situation at the moment, the team wanted to be prepared for any unexpected developments that might disrupt the ceremony, which meant, in Sheldrake’s terms, “quite a lot of logistics involved.”

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The Unexpected

Backup Plan

Sheldrake was a guest on the hospital’s YouTube video. “[We] had a] backup plan in case anything happened and we wanted to return or pause. All got interested, and the squad was both imaginative and well-organized. We all worked well together, and everybody decided to make [Carroll and Welsh’s] day special.”

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Backup Plan

150 Loved Ones

Incredibly, 150 guests at The Alfred assisted the pair in planning their wedding in just three days. Carroll and Welsh eventually sealed the knot in front of their families and friends, with everything in order. And, touchingly, the patient, a mother of two, will explain how everyone’s generosity had touched her.

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150 Loved Ones

Everything Was Beautiful

Carroll says in Alfred’s YouTube video, “It’s all so gorgeous.” “To be honest, I was going for something little, and then it just erupted with everyone’s love. It was ideal.” Her new partner, too, commented on their big day at the hospital, sharing how much he had been upset by the occasion.

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Everything Was Beautiful

The Wedding

“I couldn’t wait to see [Carroll] in her dress,” Welsh says in the video. “It was most likely the most significant day in my life. I was informed that from when we began about five weeks earlier, I’d only have only five to ten days with her. We’re together now, and I couldn’t wish for anything more.”

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The Wedding

The Moment

Gantner seemed to be delighted by the event as well, as he is heard in Alfred’s video labeling the wedding as a “spectacular” encounter. On the other hand, Carroll had one more thing to tell on the topic, and it speaks volumes about her state of mind after the wedding.

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The Moment

The Bride

“[I’m] overjoyed because it’s something I’ve ever wanted,” Carroll says. “I’m overjoyed because I’m now [Welsh’s] wife.” And Alfred’s video caused quite a stir online, with over 10,000 views to date on YouTube. They also posted the video on the hospital’s Facebook page, where people met it with a similarly enthusiastic reaction.

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The Bride

Gone Viral

The video has received over 1,000 likes and more than 200 shares since they posted it on the social networking platform. The emotional video also drew over 140 views, with several people expressing their love for the happy couple.

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Gone Viral

Amazing Hospital

“Thank you for sharing your special day, Toni and Jesse,” one Facebook user commented. “The Alfred ICU never fails to amaze [me] – constantly stretching the envelope in so many directions to do what might be impossible.” The hospital’s kudos didn’t stop there, though.

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Amazing Hospital

Remarks

Indeed, another individual decided to congratulate those involved in Carroll and Welsh’s wedding. “What a lovely family,” the individual wrote. “Toni and Jesse, congratulations. Thank you very much to The Alfred for having it possible. It is what I mean by exceptional patient-centered care.” However, one remark, in particular, stuck out for its poignancy among the others.

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Remarks

Everyone Was Happy

“God bless you both,” said another social network consumer. “What a great bunch of people you are, The Alfred. Keep this in your minds, and know and appreciate that it is individuals like you who make the planet a happier place. The smallest gesture of kindness will have the most effect. Congratulations!”

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Everyone Was Happy

Newlywed Bliss

But Carroll and Welsh couldn’t enjoy the glow of newlywed bliss for long because the bride’s wellbeing came first. Carroll’s heart operation took place not long after the reception and facing early concerns that she might not undergo the treatment, the mother luckily survived.

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Newlywed Bliss

Before The Procedure

Carroll was then set to depart The Alfred’s ICU only days after the procedure. But, of course, that wasn’t the only good news since physicians at the hospital were increasingly hopeful that the patient would be able to move home sometime this year. And, predictably, her husband was overjoyed at the prospect.

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Before The Procedure

Determined To Live

Carroll, according to Welsh, was desperate to regain her life outside of The Alfred. “She seems like she has lost out on a lot, but [our daughters] realize who she is,” he said to Sunrise. “She’s a force to be reckoned with. Toni said, “I can’t wait to get home, sit down, and watch Netflix, and get back to real life.”

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Determined To Live

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