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'I wanted to see ... who helped me survive': Teen reunites with Cincinnati nurse who helped save her life

Madelyn was born pre-maturely and expected to have complications
UCMC reunion
Posted at 6:37 PM, Apr 12, 2023

CINCINNATI — A 13-year-old girl from Connecticut reunited with one of the nurses who saved her life at UC Medical Center.

“I wanted to see where I was born and who helped me survive,” said Madelyn Prinzhorn.

Thirteen years ago, Madelyn’s mother, Katie, was pregnant with triplets. She only learned about her other two babies 21 weeks into her pregnancy at a doctor’s appointment.

“That was the day we found out everything and also found out we only had one viable baby,” Katie said.

Two of the three babies were diagnosed with Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome and died in utero.

Her doctors in Connecticut thought the third baby had suffered several strokes and faced a 90 percent chance of being born with significant brain damage. They believed she wouldn’t be able to walk, talk or eat on her own.

Twenty-seven weeks into Katie’s pregnancy, she was at risk of losing Madelyn.

“We got to the point where they said you won’t make it to the next ultrasound, so you need to get on plan this weekend and fly to Cincinnati,” Katie said.

She flew to Cincinnati to see a doctor at Children’s Hospital who would perform an in-utero ablation of the umbilical cord. At the time only two doctors in the country performed this surgery.

On the morning of her procedure, she went into labor at 27 weeks. She was taken to UC Medical Center where she gave birth to Madelyn.

Madelyn was cared for at UC Medical Center’s neonatal intensive care unit for two and a half weeks. The care she received allowed her the chance to live a normal and healthy life.

“We just felt cared about being so far away and not having our family. It was nice to know they were there,” Katie said.

One of the two nurses who cared for Madelyn was Felicia Kramer.

“It’s very hard to reassure the parents that everything is going to be OK because we just don’t know. We don’t know if everything is going to be OK, but you just have to do your best to try and give them hope,” Kramer said.

She bonded quickly with Katie. Kramer was a new mother and had family in Connecticut.

“We kept in contact through Facebook and she was able to, you know, post on Facebook pictures of Maddy growing up, and I was so happy to see she was doing so well,” she said.

Kramer noted she hadn’t seen Madelyn in person since she was under her care.

“It’s really sweet she wanted to come back here and reconnect with us,” she said.

Visiting Cincinnati has been on Madelyn’s mind for years.

“After COVID happened, I started learning a little more about it. I was like I kind of want to go back there. I kind of want to learn more and actually in one of my gifts to me my mom I made this bucket of things we should do in a jar and one day she opened it and it said, “We should go to Cincinnati on a trip.” I remember we hung it up on a bulletin board and now here I am,” Madelyn said.

The surprise for Madelyn was meeting Felicia, who had a present and birthday cake ready. Madelyn turned 13 in March.

“I was so happy, I was like, 'Wow, I get to see one of the nurses that made me who I am today.' It was really cool,” Madelyn said.

Madelyn plays soccer on a premier team. To her, playing soccer is a gift.

“I was very lucky to not have any health complications like I was told or my mom was told that I probably wouldn’t be able to feed myself or be like who I am today,” she said.

When she grows up, she hopes she can become someone like Felicia Kramer.

“I’ve always had an idea of being some sort of traveling nurse or some sort of doctor,” Madelyn said. “Learning about the story of my birth it’s always interested me, like what if one day I could help people like the nurses helped me.”

The Prinzhorns will be in town for a few days. They plan to see a show on Friday and visit the Cincinnati Zoo. Madelyn said she is excited to see Fiona because they have a similar story.