A team of doctors in eastern Hungary have successfully delivered a premature baby from a woman who had been diagnosed as brain dead.
The baby was successfully delivered on the 27th week of pregnancy weighing 1.5 kilograms following a caesarean earlier this year, doctors at the Debrecen Medical Hospital said.
The baby, which has not been identified to protect the family’s identity, is said to be in a “healthy condition”.
The mother of the child had suffered a stroke while 15 weeks pregnant.
Despite battling to save the woman’s life for two days, doctors eventually pronounced the mother as brain dead.
Medical staff kept the 31-year-old on life-support for three months after an ultrasound revealed the foetus was showing normal signs of life.
Watch our Medical Editor Lawrence McGinty’s report on the incredible story:
Doctors said the woman’s body functions had to be maintained exactly as that of a normal pregnant woman while she was on life support.
They gave the mother a special diet and even played music.
The woman’s family visited and spoke to the baby growing in her womb.
Her relatively healthy condition lead doctors to approach her family with the idea of organ donation, in the hope of saving the lives of four other people.
“While they were grieving for the mother, the family had to decide what to do next and they overcame their feelings and decided to help others too,” Doctor Csilla Molnar told reporters on Wednesday.
Five of the mother’s organs, including her heart, liver and kidneys, have been used to save the lives of four other people who were in need of transplants.
The head of the intensive care unit at the hospital, Doctor Bela Fulesdi, said the case was “very special”:
“So far two cases are reported in the literature, those cases who survived from the 15th week of pregnancy in a brain-dead mother, which is very special in this case that those two cases didn’t end up with transplantation.
And here in this case, there were five organs transplanted after all.
So we were among the three with the babies who survived and which is very special in this case is the five organ donations additionally, so it resulted in saving four other lives beside the baby.”