Heartbreaking moment brain dead baby girl donates her organs

Heartbreaking moment brain dead baby girl is given a guard of honour by hospital staff as she is taken on her final journey to donate her organs to other children

  • Coralynn Sobolik, who was 22 months old, was taken into surgery on April 22
  • A brief battle with a virus had caused cardiac arrest and brain damage
  • Parents Meagan and Paul Sobolik said their emotional goodbyes to Coralynn
  • Staff lined the hospital singing Amazing Grace in the viral Facebook video 

Heartbreaking footage has captured the moment a brain-dead infant is wheeled into surgery to donate her organs.

Coralynn Sobolik, who 22 months old, was kissed goodbye by her mother, Meagan Sobolik, 29, who said, ‘You get to save three people. I love you forever’.

In the tear-jerking video, doctors and nurses line the corridors to honour Coralynn while singing Amazing Grace. 

Coralynn, of New Hampton, Iowa, had been declared brain dead just one day earlier after a brief five-day battle with a virus. 

Complications from the illness meant she suffered cardiac arrest three times before being declared brain dead.

Three people will be saved by Coralynn, whose life support was turned off on April 22 before she donated her heart, liver and kidneys.

Coralynn Sobolik, who was one years old, had her life support turned off on April 29. Pictured with her father, Paul Sobolik, 32, when she was a healthy baby 

In the tear-jerking video, doctors and nurses line the corridors to honour Coralynn while singing Amazing Grace (pictured)

Mrs Sobolik, who is joined by Coralynn’s father, Mr Sobolik, (pictured together) can be heard saying: ‘I love you forever, you’re the best thing that ever happened to me’

Mrs Sobolik, who is joined by Coralynn’s father, Paul Sobolik, 32, can be heard saying: ‘I love you forever, you’re the best thing that ever happened to me.’ 

Coralynn can be seen wearing a little knitted hat with daisies on and hooked up to dozens of wires.

Mrs Sobolik had nothing but praise for staff who flocked around her daughter as she made her last ever journey to save the lives of three others.

She said: ‘I don’t know if there is a word for more than phenomenal but the hospital staff were just that.

‘They treated us as though they were our family.

‘It was such a moving moment and I’m so touched that Coralynn managed to touch that many lives.’

Mrs Sobolik shared the video on Facebook for family members outside of the US to watch.

She was shocked to find the clip soon became a viral sensation and viewed over nine million times.

The grieving mother said: ‘I’m so grateful that Coralynn’s memory can live on.

‘We are overwhelmed by the support we have received from people all over the world.

‘It’s great to know our little girl has inspired so many.’

Coralynn became ill and was taken to hospital, but when she arrived was struggling to breathe. Pictured before, unclear what age 

An obituary for Carolynn said that she was mischievous and loved the ‘Baby Shark’ song

The grieving parents were determined to not let her death be in vain and made sure her heart, liver and kidneys were donated to others in need. The video shows her last moments (pictured)

Mrs Sobolik said: ‘Coralynn now has a legacy that can live on through these three different people’. Pictured, the nurses and doctors lining the corridors

Mr and Mrs Sobolik, who have two other children, Maycee and Oliver, whose ages are unknown, were determined to not Coralynn’s death be in vain.

They decided to donate her heart, liver and kidneys to others in need.

Her heart went to a one-year-old boy while her liver went to a one-year-old girl.

Her kidneys were donated to a 41-year-old woman. 

Mrs Sobolik said: ‘I would encourage everyone to think about organ donation.

‘Whether it’s your mother, brother or little one, you have a choice to let their legacy live on.

‘Coralynn now has a legacy that can live on through these three different people.’

When Coralynn became ill on April 17, she was taken to hospital two days later where doctors discovered she was struggling to breathe.

She had caught parainfluenza, a virus which causes respiratory problems. 

Just before she was transferred to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, she crashed and medical workers performed CPR for 25 minutes.

They were able to stabilise her, and therefore take her to Mayo.

Here, doctors said the results of her echocardiogram – which looks at the heart -were good. But a CAT scan showed the little girl had brain damage.

Doctors thought she would wake up but did not know how impaired she would be.

However in the middle of the night’s, Coralynn’s brain began to swell and an emergency CAT scan showed she was brain dead.

This meant that she would never regain consciousness and support her own breathing.  

On Coralynn’s GoFundMe page, Melissa Brevig writes: ‘There was no coming back. Meagan and Paul had to make the hardest decision of their life.

‘Cora will be going into surgery and she will be saving three people and gifting someone’s baby with a very strong heart.’ 

The GoFundMe account raising money for the little girl’s funeral has amassed over £1,700.

An obituary for Coralynn reads: ‘Coralynn had a mischievous side, too. She was known to steal her big sister’s Barbie dolls and pour out Lucky Charms for the marshmallows. 

‘She loved being outside blowing bubbles and chasing kitties and puppies. She liked bubble baths, wearing her boots (or anyone’s shoes she could fit in) and listening to “Baby Shark”.’


Brain death (also known as brain stem death) is when a person on an artificial life support machine no longer has any brain functions. This means they will not regain consciousness or be able to breathe without support.

A person who’s brain dead is legally confirmed as dead. They have no chance of recovery because their body is unable to survive without artificial life support. 

Brain death is the irreversible cessation of function of the entire brain, and worldwide, including the UK and US, it means the person has died. 

It can be confusing to be told someone has brain death, because their life support machine will keep their heart beating and their chest will still rise and fall with every breath from the ventilator.

But they will not ever regain consciousness or start breathing on their own again.

Brain death can result from a severe traumatic brain injury, stroke or prolonged CPR after cardiac arrest. 

After brain death, it may be possible for the person to donate their organs and save other people’s lives. 

In cases where a deceased person has not made their wishes clear, partners or relatives must make a difficult decision. 

In the year 2017-2018, there were 955 people in the UK who donated their organs after brain death. 

Source: NHS 

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