Meet Christina


When Carmelina Portante was admitted to Southlake with life-threateningly high blood pressure, she relied on the life-saving action of Southlake’s Maternal Child department to bring her daughter Christina into the world – and save both of their lives.

On the morning that Christina was born, Carmelina started going downhill. Dr. Erica Mantay took one look at her and made arrangements to airlift her to Toronto for a high risk delivery. But before they had a chance, Carmelina began to hemorrhage and was soon too unstable to fly.

With two lives hanging in the balance, Dr. Mantay and her team prepared for emergency surgery, and in the early morning hours of July 22, Christina was delivered by c-section, weighing just 850 grams.

Although Carmelina doesn’t recall much of the day’s events, her mother Joanne Racioppo was beside herself with worry. “It doesn’t matter how old your children are,” Joanne says. “They’ll always be your babies.

Carmelina had a speedy recovery, but Christina needed extra care in the neonatal intensive care unit. Today, Christina is a happy and healthy baby – and, according to Joanne, she just loves spending time with her Nonna!


“When I think of how our story could have turned out if my family didn’t live close to Southlake – well, it gives me goosebumps.” – Joanne Racioppo