New mom battling COVID needs lung transplant weeks after giving birth


LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A fundraiser has been set up to help a new mom get a lung transplant to see her baby.

Gabriela Acuna, was pregnant when she got COVID-19 in August and things turned for the worst.

“Like so many pregnant women she held off on getting the vaccine until she got the A-okay from her OB,” her sister, Paula Olmeda said. “The week she had her appointment to ask for OB’s blessing, she got Covid. Like so many, she went to the ER asking for help to breathe but she was turned away 3 times before they had no choice but to take her.”

Due to her pregnancy, Acuna was not put on a ventilator and other necessary methods of treatment because doctors didn’t want to hurt the baby. Her family wasn’t allowed to be by her side because of hospital COVID guidelines.

“Gaby fought and fought for 2 weeks as her family watched helplessly through FaceTime,” Olmeda added. Her last words to my mother were, “mom, I have nothing for the baby. Gaby I’ll get that nursery ready! I’ll take care of it!”

The baby was born healthy on Sept. 13th at 1 pound, 10 ounces.

Shy of Acuna’s 30th birthday she has been in and out of the hospital. “She has been intubated. She has gotten a tracheotomy, her lungs have collapsed multiple times,” Olmeda said. “She has three chest tubes in her lungs, a cyst on the lungs, and she went through cardiac arrest and by the miracle of GOD, my sweet sister is still with us. Told you she was a fighter.”

Acuna is in need of a lung transplant. Her family says she was the perfect candidate. She passed all the necessary tests and her insurance would approve her transplant. In the eleven-hour Medicaid changed their minds.

“The evening she was going to be airlifted from Her hospital in Las Vegas to the hospital in California, we got a phone call,” Olmeda said. “Medicaid denied her last minute. The helicopter arrived at the Hospital awaiting her and they let it fly away. It wasn’t until the following day that we learned that Medicaid in the State of Nevada does not approve lung transplants.”

Now the family is trying to raise $2,500,000 so they can pay for this surgery out of pocket and Acuna can see her baby.

To help donate please visit their GoFundMe page.

If insurance does end up covering the various treatments, the family says they will donate the money to another person needing a transplant.

8 News Now reached out to the state health officials and Centennial Hills hospital to see what can be done and we are waiting for a response.

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