Brain Dead Woman in Italy Kept Alive Gives Birth to Baby Girl Before Dying

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 12, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Brain Dead Woman in Italy Kept Alive Gives Birth to Baby Girl Before Dying Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 12, 2006

Rome, Italy ( — A brain dead woman who was kept alive artificially for over two months gave birth to a premature but healthy baby girl on Saturday. Doctors at Milan’s Niguard hospital said the machine that kept the 38 year-old woman alive was turned off after the birth.

Named Cristina after her mother, the baby girl was breathing on her own on Sunday, the doctors reported. She was born two months early via Caesarian section and weighed just 1.5 pounds.

According to an AP report, doctors decided to move ahead with the birth after the mother experienced blood pressure problems and the baby’s heart rate plunged.

Doctors told the Associated Press that it will be at least a month before baby Cristina would be out of danger.

"The baby girl’s clinical condition is stable. It’s a good sign," said Dr. Stefano Martinelli, head of the neonatal ward at Niguarda hospital. "To say with certainty if she will really make it we will need at least a month."

"She’s breathing well. She doesn’t need oxygen," Martinelli said and indicated that she could go home in two to three months if all goes well.

He indicated the baby’s heart and circulatory system were working well.

"It’s as if she wants to justify all that has been done to bring her into this world," Martinelli said, according to AP.

SKY TG24 TV showed images of the baby appearing to do well with one of her legs actively kicking the side of the incubator.

The woman was hospitalized in March after suffering the rupture of a cerebral aneurysm and doctors declared her brain dead shortly thereafter. The news report indicated the woman was brain dead for 78 days before the birth and her kidneys, liver, and corneas were donated to patients in transplants.