In previous articles, LifeNews has covered stories of babies who’ve survived after their mothers were declared “brain dead.”
One such story involved a mother who was only eight weeks pregnant when she suffered a severe poly-substance drug overdose that nearly killed her. The doctors who treated her said that her body was deprived of oxygen for approximately four hours. The overdose combined with the lack of oxygen left brain damaged and she was put on life support at a local hospital.
Immediately after the incident, the woman’s family was told that her baby would not survive and suggested that she be taken off life support. Thankfully, the maternal grandmother was against this proposition and said that her daughter would want her child to have a chance. Now the baby, named Isabella Hope, is doing well and has been adopted by a loving family.
Last July a healthy baby girl, Faith, was born at 35 weeks’ gestation in Alaska.
For the previous 23 weeks, her mother Jessie Ayagalria had been in a coma on life support so that her baby would survive.
Ms Ayagalria had suffered a massive heart attack. Early on in the coma, it was established that she had little brain activity and would not survive.
However, as the family faced the heartbreaking prospect of taking her off life-support, they were told by doctors that it may be possible for her to carry the baby to a point where it could be delivered.
The family decided they wanted to give it a go and Ms Ayagalria was put on a feeding tube, IV and oxygen.
Nearly six months later, Faith was delivered by caesarean section weighing six pounds and one ounce.
Last February, Iver Cohen Benson was born at 28 weeks in Canada.
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Just six weeks earlier, his father Dylan had found his mother Robyn unconscious on their bathroom floor while she was 22 weeks pregnant. She had suffered a brain haemorrhage and was brain dead. However, Dylan was told that if they could keep her body alive for four more weeks, there was a significant chance the baby would survive.
Just after Iver was born Dylan wrote on his blog that they had had to say goodbye “to the strongest and most wonderful woman I have ever met”.
“She will live on forever within Iver, and in my heart,” he wrote. By May, Dylan was able to take Iver home from hospital.
In 2005, there was not such a positive outcome for another baby, carried by her mother who was brain dead.
Susan Torres had suffered a stroke caused by melanoma that had spread to her brain when she was 17 weeks pregnant. Her baby, Susan Anne Torres was born prematurely three months later. She survived for five weeks, but died of heart failure.
At the end of last year, a baby was born to a Hungarian woman who had suffered a massive stroke and was declared brain dead at just the 15th week of her pregnancy.
For the next three months, the mother was fed with special nutrient-rich fluids and at 27 weeks, the baby was born. Life support to its mother was then switched off.
Unfortunately, some cases involving brain-dead pregnant women don’t turn out well because family members or medical professionals refuse to give the unborn child a chance and remove life-support even though there are two lives involved.
For example, earlier this year a Texas hospital decided not to appeal a judge’s decision to allow a husband’s bid to remove his “brain dead” pregnant wife from life support, an action that would end the life of his own unborn child. The woman, Marlise Munoz, collapsed in her home from a blood clot in her lungs when she was 14 weeks pregnant with her second child.
Initially the hospital refused to grant the husband’s request because of Texas’ Advance Directives Act, which reads, “A person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment under this subchapter from a pregnant patient.” But after the judges decision, the hospital followed the court order. Although it is true that not all cases involving brain-dead pregnant women result in the birth of a healthy child, doctors and family members should give unborn children a chance since their lives are just as valuable as their mothers.