Pregnant Mom of 4 Dies After Wasp Stings Set Off Rare Condition

harkins family fundA young mother pregnant with her fifth child was cruelly and suddenly taken from this life on an ordinary summer afternoon. Sarah Harkins was 21 weeks pregnant and just 32 years old when a wasps' nest in her backyard was disturbed and she was stung. Her unborn baby, who would be named Cecilia Rachel, died as well. Now her husband, Eric, is left alone to care for their four small children, including a 1-year-old with Down syndrome.

Sarah died because of the wasp stings and did have an allergy, but it wasn't exactly the stings that killed her. This was actually a rare chain of events.


The stings caused an allergic reaction and Harkins' face began to swell. She made it to the house, where she alerted her husband to call 911. Then she collapsed. Eric Harkins administered CPR on his wife and the paramedics managed to revive her when they arrived. But a sinister culprit undermined their efforts -- the trauma caused a lingering aneurysm in the young mother's brain to burst. She was pronounced brain dead.

At least Eric was able to gather his family around their mother to say goodbye before she was taken off life support. "I'm thankful to the medic for giving me and the kids that chance, bringing her back enough so we could say goodbye to her,” he told

Wasp stings would be traumatizing for anyone, let alone a pregnant woman with an allergy to the stings. In extreme cases they can be fatal. But Sarah got help right away and might have survived, if it weren't for her other condition. How was anyone to know she had a brain aneurysm lying in wait? Any number of things could have set it off.

It's just cruel that such an active, vibrant life could be cut short so suddenly.

Sarah's family and friends have set up and fund-raising sites to help Eric and his children.

Have you ever known someone to have an allergic reaction to insect stings? 


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