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BIO Magazine - Unique medical miracle at the University of Debrecen: A brain dead woman gives birth to a healthy baby and saves the lives of four other people Δεκέμβριος 2015
Δεκέμβριος 2015 No38

BIO Ethics

Unique medical miracle at the University of Debrecen:  A brain dead woman gives birth to a healthy baby and saves the lives of four other people
Unique medical miracle at the University of Debrecen: A brain dead woman gives birth to a healthy baby and saves the lives of four other people

The baby who was born by caesarean section in July 2013 ninety days after its mother had been declared brain dead is now at home and well. Doctor's had kept the mother on life support until the child could be born safely. Following the birth, the 31 year old woman's life functions were maintained for a further two days, during which time her organs were removed with the consent of her family and were transplanted into awaiting recipients. This human drama and incredible medical success story occurred at the University of Debrecen Medical and Health Science Centre.

The 31 year old woman, who was pregnant with a 15-week foetus, was at home when she had a stroke and lost consciousness. After being taken to hospital the woman was immediately operated on and the intervention was a success, but she did not regain consciousness and fell into a coma. Having been declared brain dead, she was kept on life support; her heart was kept beating and she received mechanical ventilation and treatment to keep her organs functioning. Examinations showed that her foetus was not only alive, but was actively moving. 

Her partner, the father, the woman's parents and her doctors were faced with an extraordinary decision; what can and should they do? Should they leave the 15-week old foetus to die or should they attempt the practically impossible, to keep the mother's body alive and enable the foetus to continue developing in the womb until it can be viably born? The family and doctors came to the mutual decision that they would fight for the survival of the planned and much-awaited baby. 

The fight was a success. While having to overcome innumerable medical problems, they succeeded in achieving the continued development of the foetus within the womb. From the 20th week, the nurses called the foetus by name and spoke to it. The family also visited them regularly; the father and the grandmothers stroked the mother's belly and spoke to the child, and the radio was on all day in the hospital room so that the foetus could always hear human voices and music… 

It was an indescribable moment when in July2013, inthe 27th week of the pregnancy and 90 days after the mother had fallen into a coma, the child was born with caesarean section andlet out its first cry! A healthy, suitably developed premature baby was born with a weight of1420 grams. 

The doctors and the family decided that the mother's organs should be used to help others. Accordingly, five healthy organs were removed from the mother's body on the 92nd day of her having been admitted to hospital. Treating the mother thus enabled the lives of another four people to also be saved. 

Thanks to the high quality neonatal care, the child is in good health and is developing normally. The baby was discharged from hospital in October 2013 and is now at home. 

The family kindly asks the media to honour the interests of the child, who is now growing up at home in peace, and not to pursue them. A detailed account of the unique procedure, with doctors’ comments and a brief video, can be found in English at the websiteof the University of Debrecen Medical and Health Science Centre (http://www.deoec.hu/hirek.aspx?nid=33497#33497).

 

Photo: University of Debrecen Medical and Health Science Centre (http://www.dote.hu/hirek.aspx?nid=33482)

Source: International Communications Office of the Prime Minister’s Office of Hungary


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