Couple turns to faith - and Facebook - as restrictions separate them from hospitalized daughter

(WTHR photo)
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — It's been nearly one week since Hamilton County residents Matt and Jen Doudt have seen their daughter.

Emma, 21, a senior at Ball State University, was rushed to the ER at Riverview Health in Noblesville last Friday.​​

"She's been there without us the whole time," Matt said.

"As a mom, you can imagine how brutal that is," Jen said.

Emma's parents, desperately wanting to be with their daughter, knew they couldn't. ​​

The coronavirus outbreak has essentially locked down hospitals and visitors are restricted. Doctors and nurses are having to care for patients diagnosed with COVID-19. ​​

"It's not just coronavirus people that need the hospital. It's people like our daughter and other people that are really sick. Moms having babies and stuff. There has to be space in hospitals for the regular sick people and if we don't do our part to keep the coronavirus as small as possible, we're going to lose other people for other reasons," Matt said.​​

Doctors aren't quite sure what made Emma sick. ​​

It all began after a family dinner Wednesday night. Her parents say later on, she began vomiting every 15 minutes for more than 12 hours. Both of her lungs were filled with fluid, something her mother says put a strain on her heart. ​​

Twenty-four hours later, Emma was in the emergency room.​​

"Forty-five minutes after getting to the emergency room with a little bit of breathing problems, she was intubated and put to sleep," Matt said. ​​

At first, doctors thought she had COVID-19. Then, they discovered a blood clot in her leg.​​

"Her kidneys were starting to shut down, so now it's her lungs, it's her heart, it's her kidneys. Everything was being affected," Jen said.​​

Doctors transferred her to St. Vincent Hospital. The goal was to put her on life support. ​​

The Doudts turned to their faith and Facebook, asking the world to pray for Emma's healing.​​

Jen posted a photo of Emma on Facebook that's now gone viral, reaching people around the globe.​​

"It was this beautiful thing to watch the global church stand up, unified and fight together to go before the Lord and lift up our family," Jen said. ​​

The Doudts are also worship and prayer pastors at The Well in Carmel.​​

"Our pastor at the time, he had this encounter, and he said 'trouble's coming and you're not prepared.' We took that as a cue. 'OK, Lord. What does it look like to get prepared?' The response was day and night worship," Jen said.

The Doudts started a Facebook group called Dwell Global, and hold live-streaming worship sessions from their home. They intend to do these for the duration of the quarantine. Since Monday morning, they've logged about 70 hours of worship.

"Worshipping every day and getting our hearts softened and prepared for whatever was coming, prepared us not only for this virus but it's also really given us peace about Emma being in the hospital," Matt said. ​​

"Nothing is impossible with God," Jen said. ​