A Florida newborn died in his father's arms on Friday, just weeks after the struggling infant's mother died due to complications during childbirth.
Lauren Accurso, a 37-year-old mom from Jacksonville, Fla., passed away on April 29 while in labor with her fourth child and only son, Matthew Jr. According to her family members, her death resulted from an "unpreventable and very rare medical emergency."
Although Matthew Jr. miraculously survived, the infant's father, Matthew Accurso Sr., said his son suffered "significant brain injury due to a prolonged period without oxygen during his birth."
Accurso Sr. revealed on May 14 that his family made the painful decision to take the infant off life support, after 18 long days of treatment in the NICU at Wolfson Children’s Hospital.
"Today was one of the hardest days of my life," Accurso said in a Facebook post shared by Matt McCloghry, his family's pastor.
"Matthew is being supported by a breathing machine requiring an airway tube, and also a feeding tube," the father explained. "Based on the severity of his condition Matthew will not be able to sustain life without these medical devices in place, what we would typically describe as 'life support.' Over the past few weeks doctors have attempted to wean him off the machines, but sadly the results have not been positive."
"I would be so grateful for your prayers in the coming days as we work with the doctors and medical staff and plan to see Matthew off to his mommy and Heavenly Father," he ended the post.
On May 17, pastor McCloghry took to Facebook to share that the baby passed away while he was "held by his dad, surrounded by his close family as they worshipped and prayed."
"Thank you for continuing to pray and support this family during this difficult time," McCloghry wrote. "They are so grateful for your prayers and your support."
Lauren and Matthew Accurso were high school sweethearts who married in 2004, according to a GoFundMe started to support the family. The page has raised over $172,000 of its $200,000 goal as of Tuesday afternoon.
Lauren and her infant son are survived by Accurso Sr. and their three daughters, 8-year-old Ali Rose, 5-year-old Naomi Belle and 2-year-old Layne Louise, according to her obituary.
The family's pastor remembered Lauren as a "bubbly" woman with a "lovely personality."
"She was an incredible wife and incredible mom but she was a strong believer," McCloghry told WJXT.