OKLAHOMA CITY, October 17, 2011 ( – An Oklahoma woman died of cancer last month after refusing chemotherapy that would have threatened the life of her unborn child, reports.

Stacie Crimm was 41, single, and unexpectedly pregnant, when she was diagnosed with head and neck cancer this past July. Faced with the agonizing decision of whether to expose her unborn child to a potentially fatal course of chemotherapy, Crimm decided to put her own life on the line instead.


Her daughter, Dottie Mae, was born August 16th by emergency C-section after Crimm collapsed in her home.

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Doctors managed to save the 2-pound baby and resuscitate the mother, placing both in intensive care units in separate buildings. While Crimm seemed to be improving at first, her condition soon deteriorated until three weeks later she stopped breathing and had to be resuscitated again. Her family was told that she was dying.

In a recent interview, Crimm’s brother Ray Phillips told about Crimm’s first meeting with her baby, which happened just before she died.

According to Phillips, doctors had initially told the family that it would be impossible for Crimm to hold her child. However, two nurses intervened, and found a way to safely move the baby, who was still in an incubator in the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

“They laid Dottie Mae right on her chest and they just looked at each other. Nobody really said anything. It just got real quiet,” Phillips related. “It was the perfect moment. That’s what I always call it.”


Phillips and his wife, Jennifer, who have four children of their own, are now Dottie Mae’s guardians.

Crimm’s story is similar to that of 30-year-old Jessica Council, who refused chemotherapy while pregnant with her second child. Like Crimm, Council succumbed to cancer after giving birth to a baby girl.