Young mother and wife dies after suffering severe asthma attack, family donates organs

- A young mother and new wife heartbreakingly passed away this past weekend after suffering a severe asthma attack. Now, her family is sharing the story of her selflessness and organ donation.

Cynthia Greenberg-Palanca, from Warminster, PA, was a mother to a 3-month-old daughter Isabella, and a new wife to husband Chris Palanca, according to the GoFundMe page set up in her honor.

Last Friday night, Cynthia was hospitalized due to “a lifethreatning [sic] asthma condition”, according to the crowdfunding page.

At the time the GoFundMe was first published, Cynthia was in critical condition, but now according to an update on the page, it has been revealed that she passed away.

Chris took to the page to tell their story.

He writes that after Cynthia suffered the asthma attack, she passed out due to lack of oxygen on the way to the hospital. From there, Chris called 911 and spoke with an operator for the remainder of their trip, who, according to Chris, said they would alert hospital staff of their arrival.

However, Chris writes that no one was waiting when they arrived.

Then, Chris writes that she ran inside and alerted a receptionist, who then tried to assemble nurses and a stretcher to retrieve Cynthia from the car. Chris rushed back to his wife, but was horrified to learn that she wasn’t breathing and her heart had stopped.

Chris writes that the nurses came out to retrieve Cynthia and brought her into the emergency room to resuscitate her. Meantime, Chris sat in the waiting room, extremely worried.

According to Chris, he waited for “a long hour” before the nurses allowed him to speak with the doctor, who confirmed the heartbreaking news that Cynthia’s heart had stopped. However, they managed to resuscitate her, but the trauma caused her to fall into a coma. She also suffered an unknown amount of brain damage, Chris writes.

Over the next 24 hours, doctors performed a procedure on Cynthia to prevent further brain damage. But then she began to have seizures, and the doctors tried four different medications to make them stop with no avail.

“The doctors sent her for a CAT scan to determine whether her brain was swollen and if she would receive further treatment at the Neuroscience department at Overlook Hospital or if her condition was terminal and could not receive any further treatment,” Chris writes.

Meantime, Chris’s in-laws arrived from York, Pennsylvania and Baltimore, Maryland.

Fortunately, Cynthia’s CAT scan showed that she suffered from little to no brain swelling, a positive sign in their grim situation.

The family then had Cynthia transported to a bed at Overlook Hospital, and their connection to one of the “heads in charge of one of the Neuroscience departments” ensured that she received the best doctors and care.

At Overlook, Chris writes that the doctors were able to control Cynthia’s seizures. From there, she was able to get an MRI, and the family was told that her brain damage was not severe.

Cynthia would be able to recover.

“At this point, it was a matter of figuring out what medication would suppress the seizures, then take her out of the medically induced coma that they had placed her in as a comfort pre-measure, and from there, it would be up to her to wake herself up,” Chris writes.

The next day, Chris took his sister-in-law and one of Cynthia’s friends out for fresh air and food. But then, he writes, his father-in-law sent him a message while they were returning. Chris hurried back and his father-in-law told him to speak with the doctor.

The doctor told Chris that Cynthia’s blood pressure has risen. Chris explains that that is a sign of significant swelling to the brain – and that Cynthia’s condition had become terminal.

Chris sat holding Cynthia’s hand, numb.

One of her nurses came to his side, and explained the situation in her own words.

According to Chris, she said, "Cindy won't be coming home..."

The next few days were a waiting game for Chris and Cynthia’s family. They had to wait for doctors to make a final assessment on her condition as her medication wore off.

During that time, Chris writes that his family stuck by his side, and he was visited by friends he had not seen in a long time, but who were there for the beginning of his and Cynthia’s relationship.

On Saturday morning, doctors finally tested Cynthia’s brain activity. They then confirmed that she suffered terminal damage, and was declared legally brain dead.

And even though Cynthia is gone, Chris writes that “her legacy will live on” through her generosity.

When Cynthia went to get her license, Chris suggested that she become an organ donor like her is.

“…and given the situation at hand, she is getting one last chance to give to people, as she has always done for so many others in her lifetime, she is getting to give life to a select few individuals who will benefit from the organs she will be leaving behind,” he writes.

“Though my daughter will never get to really know her mother, Cindy will always be played out to be a hero to those whose lives she will be saving, and I know Isabella will be grateful to have such an amazing mother who was able to do such a great act of kindness.”

The money collected on the GoFundMe page set up in Cynthia’s honor will go towards Cynthia’s medical bills as well as her funeral and burial costs.

CJ & Cynthia Wedding from cjPALANCA on Vimeo.

Up Next:


Thank you for visiting FOX29.com! Please click the survey link below to tell us about your experience.

FOX 29 Website Survey

  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories You May Be Interested In – includes Advertiser Stories