PARENTS

Baby Delivered 12 Weeks After Mum 'Died' From Stroke

14/08/2014 16:55 | Updated 22 May 2015

Newborn baby in incubator

Doctors have made medical history after delivering a healthy baby from a brain dead mother after keeping her body alive for three months.

The baby was delivered by Caesarean section at 27 weeks – 12 weeks after the 31-year-old mother suffered a catastrophic stroke.

The birth is believed to be one of only three such cases in the world. The mother's life support machine was switched off by doctors in Hungary two days after her child was born in July.

The baby weighed about 3lb (1.5kg) when it was born and initially needed respiratory support. Despite this, doctors were confident it would survive.

"When the baby was born it was a fantastic moment, it immediately cried out, it was kicking. ...it was an unforgettable moment for all of us who took part in the treatment," said Dr. Csilla Molnar, Head of the Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Department at the University of Debrecen Medical and Health Science Centre.

The baby was discharged from the hospital last month but doctors wanted to wait to make the announcement about the delivery until they were sure the baby would survive.

It is now developing well at home and doctors say it does not show any illnesses related to premature births although it will be continuously monitored.

The family has asked for privacy and has not released the identity or sex of the baby.

Recalling the background to the baby's birth, doctors said that in the spring, the mum-to-be had been rushed to hospital and operated on but was declared brain-dead.

She was kept on life support and doctors were able to see through an ultrasound that the foetus was moving.

"In the first two days we struggled to save the mother's life and it was proven... that circulation and functions stopped," said Dr. Bela Fulesdi, president of the medical centre.

"On the second day when [other] examinations were carried out, we found the baby was alive and kicking well in its mother's body."

During the pregnancy, the baby's father and grandmothers visited the hospital to rub the mother's stomach and talk to the baby. A music therapist was used to help stimulate the foetus.

Doctors had to fight numerous infections and would turn the woman over to avoid bedsores.

While they were hoping to keep the baby in the womb as long as possible, in the 27th week, the woman's circulation became unstable and doctors decided to deliver the baby because the womb was no longer safe.

Dr Molnar was in the delivery room with a select number of doctors while the family waited in the operating theatre.

"The aim was not just to deliver a child but to deliver a healthy child," she said.

She added that there were three reported cases of births when the mother was declared brain-dead 15 weeks into her pregnancy - but one of those babies did not survive.

And that from those three cases, this instance is the only one in which organs were transplanted donated from the mother. The woman's liver, two kidneys, pancreas and heart were donated to four patients.

Dr Fulesdi added: "Our case is special because we were helping the baby [live] and additionally we could preserve... five organs of the mother to be transplanted."

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