A baby has been delivered by Cesarean section at 27 weeks, after the brain-dead mother was held alive on a ventilator. The baby was only 15-weeks-old when its mother suffered a stroke and was declared brain-dead. The child’s 31-year-old mother was removed from life support just two days after the child was born. Texas hospital hopes for a chance at the same miracle.
Doctors fought to keep the child alive after the mother’s brain stop functioning. The baby was delivered in July and the Hungarian doctors who helped the child make its transition from the womb believe there are only two other cases like this in the world.
After the mother had the stroke she was rushed to the hospital and operated on immediately but was declared brain-dead. Through an ultrasound doctors were able to see that the fetus was still moving and chose to keep the mother on life support.
President of the University of Debrecen Medical and Health Science Center, Dr. Bela Fulesdi, said they struggled to save the mother’s life but it was proven that functions and circulations had ceased. On the second day as examinations were being performed for other reasons the doctors saw that the baby was alive and kicking inside the mother’s womb.
The family has not released the sex or identity of the child and has requested privacy, but during the pregnancy the father and grandmothers visited the hospital regularly to talk to the unborn child and rub the mother’s stomach. They also used a music therapist to help stimulate the fetus. Doctors would turn the woman over to avoid bedsores and had to fight multiple infections throughout her last days.
The goal was to keep the baby inside the womb for as long as possible, but the mother’s circulation became unstable during the child’s 27th week. Doctor’s then determined that the womb was no longer a safe place for the baby and decided to deliver the premature baby.
Dr. Scilla Molnar, head of the Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Department, said they did not just want to deliver the baby; their aim was to deliver a healthy child. Molnar, along with a select number of doctors, was in the delivery room while the family waited in the operating waiting room.
Molnar said when the baby was born it immediately starting crying and kicking. She said it was a fantastic and unforgettable moment for everyone who took part in the treatment. The child was born weighing about three pounds and initially needed respiratory support. This did not worry the doctors; they were pretty confident the child would survive.
The baby was born in July 2013 and was discharged from the hospital in December 2013. Doctors did not want to announce the delivery until they were certain the child would survive. The baby is home doing well and doctors say there are no signs of any illnesses related to premature births.
Dr. Fulesdi said what makes this case so special is not only did they help the baby survive under the circumstances of a brain-dead mother but they also were able to preserve five of the mother’s organs so they could be donated. The woman’s two kidneys, liver, heart and pancreas were donated to four different patients.
This story lends credence to the Texas hospital that has refused to remove Marlise Munoz from life support. Hospital officials contend that they are bound by the Texas Advance Directives Act, but on Friday a judge gave the Fort Worth hospital until Monday at 5 p.m. CST to remove life support.
Munoz was 14 weeks into her pregnancy when Erick, her husband, found her in the middle of the night lying in the kitchen floor unconscious. Munoz was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital where the 33-year-old woman was pronounced brain-dead.
This unfortunate turn of events occurred on November 26, 2013 and against the family’s wishes the hospital has kept Munoz breathing on life support. The hospital is hoping for the opportunity to deliver a healthy baby as did the doctors at The University of Debrecen Medical and Health Science Center.
Hospital executives at John Peter Smith have not determined what their next step will be following the judge’s ruling. If they remove Munoz from the machine that’s keeping her breathing her unborn child will also die.
A baby of a brain-dead mother has been delivered by Cesarean section at 27 weeks. Doctors will continue to monitor the child’s progress but they are happy to report that the baby is now home and doing well. The child’s mother was removed from life support just two days after the child was born. Texas hospital wants the unborn Munoz baby to have the same opportunity.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)