Just 18 days after his mother suddenly died during childbirth, a newborn died on Friday after his family had to make the unbearable decision to take him off life support, the family’s pastor confirmed.
“Earlier this evening baby Matthew, held by his dad, surrounded by his close family as they worshipped and prayed, stepped into eternity to meet Jesus and his momma,” pastor Matt McCloghry wrote on Facebook. “Thank you for continuing to pray and support this family during this difficult time. They are so grateful for your prayers and your support.”
His 37-year-old mother Lauren Accurso, of Jacksonville, Florida, died on April 29, leaving behind her husband and their three other children.
Matthew Jr. had been “suffering from significant brain injury due to a prolonged period without oxygen during his birth,” his dad, Dr. Matthew Accurso, wrote in an emotional Facebook post that was shared by McCloghry.
“Today was one of the hardest days of my life. It will forever be etched in my brain,” Matthew Sr. wrote. “As a result of [his brain injury], several serious complications related to cognitive function and development have become a reality for Matthew.”
The father explained that because of this, Matthew Jr. relied on a breathing machine and feeding tube to live.
“Over the past few weeks doctors have attempted to wean him off the machines, but sadly the results have not been positive,” he wrote. “TODAY, I was faced with something no father should ever have to face. The decision to place Matthew on endless life supporting contraptions and medications or allow God to carry him where He will.”
Matthew Sr. continued, noting that while it was an agonizing decision, he still considered his son a “living miracle,” as he managed to defeat the odds and open his eyes, breathe on his own and pump blood through his heart.
When Matthew Sr. heard the news that his son wasn’t going to make it, “My first reaction as Matthew’s daddy was to sweep my sweet boy up and carry him as far away from machines, medications, life support and hospital smells as I could.”
He added: “I wanted to whisk him away to our family condo on the beach and let the healing kisses of his sisters, grandmas and cousins cleanse his little body of all his infirmities, but as life sometimes does, I was brought back down to the reality that my only son, the sweet boy that my wife so diligently and lovingly carried for 9 months is in a situation that daddy could not fix. The ONLY hope in all of this could only come from his heavenly daddy who placed breathe in Matthews lungs from the very beginning.”
In the midst of immense grief, Matthew Sr. thanked everyone for their support.
“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 wrote.
very sudden, really, just through text message and a phone: Something is happening, and we need to pray,” McCloghry told WJXT of the Lauren’s death. “It was really shortly thereafter a group of us went down to the hospital, and we heard the news.”
“Her personality was just lovely,” he added. “She was so bubbly. She was an incredible wife and incredible mom but she was a strong believer.”
A GoFundMe to support the family has since raised more than $172,000.