Prague, Czech Republic – A woman who had been brain-dead for nearly four months has given birth to a baby in good health, doctors announced.
Doctors at the University Hospital of Brno, the Czech Republic’s second largest city, announced on Monday that the healthy baby, a girl, was born last month by Caesarean section in the 34th week of pregnancy.
Her 27-year-old mother, whose identity wasn’t revealed, had been declared brain-dead for 117 days, after she suffered a haemorrhage in April while she was already 16 weeks pregnant.
Brno University Hospital head anaesthesiologist Roman Gal told AFP that the girl is “one of the heaviest and most mature babies born to a brain-dead mother”.
Gal also explained how they had kept the mother on artificial life-support throughout her pregnancy, maintaining her heart, lung, kidney and other organs working while monitoring the foetus.
A therapist also moved her legs to simulate the act of walking and stimulate the child’s growth, while nurses and her grand-mother talked and read fairy-tales to the foetus.
“This has really been an extraordinary case when the whole family stood together.. without their support and their interest, it would never have finished this way”, Pavel Ventruba, the hospital’s head of gynaecology and obstetrics, said.
Following the birth, the mother’s life-support system was turned off.
Brain-dead mothers giving birth to healthy babies is an extremely rare phenomenon, as chances of survival for the foetus are extremely slim. A similar case happened in Portugal three years ago.
According to Reuters, this case might be a new record for the longest artificially-sustained pregnancy in a brain-dead mother.
“This case can enter in the history of medicine”, Antonin Parizek, from the Faculty of Medicine of Charles University in Prague, told local media. “What has been done in Brno is quite unique, not only in the Czech Republic, but in the whole world”, added his colleague Michal Zikan.