A Canadian woman gave birth to a healthy boy six weeks after she was declared brain dead from internal bleeding. “It is with a heavy heart but also extreme proudness that I am posting this update,” Dylan Benson wrote Feb. 10 on his blog, as he stepped out of marriage and into parenthood. Benson found his pregnant wife unresponsive on Dec. 28. While doctors couldn’t save her, they offered to keep the woman on life support to save the baby, who was later born at 28 weeks. (See “Death and life” in this issue.)
A Philadelphia judge on Feb. 12 sentenced Steven Massof, an unlicensed doctor who worked as an assistant at Kermit Gosnell’s abortion center, to six to 12 years in prison. Massof, 51, was one of 11 Gosnell employees who faced charges for helping run the “House of Horrors” in Philadelphia. Massof could have faced the death penalty but instead pleaded guilty to two charges of third-degree murder in exchange for testifying against Gosnell last year. He told the judge his involvement was a “horrific part of my life that will always be there.”
Four members of Congress jointly nominated Maggie Gobran for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Gobran, dubbed “Mama Maggie,” has since 1989 operated a ministry to the poor, especially Christians, in the slums of Cairo. The ministry, which WORLD profiled in 2003 (see “When you love somebody, you live it,” Feb. 3, 2003), helped more than 32,000 people in 2013 through three vocational centers, 90 clinics, and 90 community education centers.
A Kentucky pastor featured on National Geographic for his snake handling died Feb. 15—from a snake bite. Authorities found Jamie Coots dead at his home after he was bitten during services at his Middlesboro, Ky., church, Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name, and refused to seek medical attention. The man’s son, Cody Coots, said his father had suffered poisonous bites eight times before but had never had such a serious reaction.
All-American defensive end Michael Sam announced he is gay, paving the way for the NFL’s first openly homosexual player if he is selected in the league’s upcoming draft. Sam made the disclosure in ESPN and New York Times interviews that were both published on Feb. 9. Sam, whom the Associated Press named the 2013 Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year, is expected to be a mid-round selection in the May NFL draft.
Hollywood star Clint Eastwood performed the Heimlich maneuver on Feb. 5 to save a choking golf tournament official in Florida. “Clint saved my life,” said Steve John, director of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament. Eastwood, 83, reportedly saw the man after eating a piece of cheese in distress and gave him “three quick jolts” to dislodge the food. Eastwood, known for his roles in Western movies, said he had only practiced the maneuver before.