The Doctors: Mom Induces Labor For Husband Dying of Pulmonary Fibrosis


The Doctors: Aulger Family

Parenthood is full of challenges, and you never know when life is going to surprise you. That’s exactly what happened to one family, who shared their story of tragedy and triumph exclusively with The Doctors. Learn about Pulmonary Fibrosis, and how it changed the lives of the Aulger family.

The Drs: Mom Induces Labor For Dying Husband

Aulger Family Pulmonary Fibrosis: The Drs

The Doctors met the Aulger family, whose lives were changed when father Mark was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis, a fatal condition.


Mark Aulger had just days to live. He was dying of Colon Cancer, and his wife was eight months pregnant. Diane decided to induce labor so her husband would have the chance to meet their baby before he passed away. Some people think this was a controversial decision, but The Doctors weighed in.

OB/GYN Dr Lisa Masterson said that while this is not a scenario any doctor hopes to encounter, it was a medically sound decision. “There are actually valid social reasons for inductions,” she said. Dr Jim Sears added that 38 weeks of pregnancy is not a premature birth.

The Doctors: Pulmonary Fibrosis & Induced Labor

Dr Travis Stork said it’s hard to imagine what this situation is like. However, Diane agreed to speak candidly with The Doctors about the story behind the headlines. Diane had a son and a daughter before she met Mark. Their blended family soon grew to include two more children before Savannah, Mark’s final child.


Mark’s cancer diagnosis came in spring 2011. Though he went into remission later that year, he relapsed in January 2012. Doctors discovered Pulmonary Fibrosis, a fatal disease involving lung scarring. Suddenly, doctors expected that Mark had about a week to live.

That’s when doctors discussed inducing labor so that Mark could meet his daughter before he passed away. Savannah was born on January 18 2012, and Mark got to be in a hospital bed next to Diane for Savannah’s birth. Video from the hospital shared the personal moments between the parents and their newborn.

A few days later, on January 23, it was clear to Mark’s doctors as well as Diane that he was going to expire. Diane put Savannah in Mark’s arm, “and I held his hand until he stopped breathing.” The family misses Mark, and Diane is still very emotional about the loss of the man she loves.

What Is Pulmonary Fibrosis?

Diane joined The Doctors in the studio to follow up on her unimaginable story. Dr Travis explained that Pulmonary Fibrosis can rapidly advance, and “when the tissue becomes fibrotic, you can no longer have adequate oxygenation of your blood.”

There is no cure for Pulmonary Fibrosis, and doctors are powerless to reverse the condition. Diane said the family was in denial about Mark’s prognosis, especially on the day Savannah was born. She held out hope that her husband would survive, but reality soon sunk back in.

Dallas Christian College Scholarship

Dr Jim Sears asked how family support has been in the wake of this tragedy. Diane explained that her other children, including her 13-year-old son, have really stepped in to take care of one another. Her 10-year-old son is having a difficult time dealing with everything that’s going on. Diane said her 8-year-old daughter is also struggling with the loss.

Diane’s children joined her and The Doctors on the set, and they seemed to be in great spirits, considering everything they have been through. From the audience, Dusty Rubeck from Dallas Christian College in Texas had a special message for Diane and her kids.

Dusty explained that his own father passed away recently from cancer. He said he was touched by Diane’s story, and Dallas Christian College has created the Mark Aulger Memorial Scholarship. They offered each of the children a full tuition scholarship to attend the college.

Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation

Dr Lisa said this story was the first time she has cried on the show. She recalled losing her own mother, telling the kids that it will be difficult to get through this experience, but their father is always with them.

For viewers interested in helping the family, Diane asked The Doctors to make donations to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. The Doctors can also take donations directly to the family through the foundation on their website.


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