In a rare case, a clinically dead woman in Italy gave birth to a healthy child. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
If the right to end an unborn child’s life is a mother’s choice, what happens when she is no longer able to make this decision? Thus was the case for a 23-week pregnant woman whose life was abruptly ended by a brain hemorrhage in October. At the request of her family, however, doctors managed to keep the woman alive on life support just long enough to save her baby.
The woman, whose identity has been withheld, was rushed to the hospital after suffering a brain hemorrhage, but unfortunately doctors were not able to save her life, the Daily Mail reported. The woman’s family, however, requested that her body be kept alive just long enough to deliver her child.
Nine weeks later, after keeping the woman alive using machines to maintain her breathing and blood flow, a team of doctors delivered the child via cesarean section. The baby boy was born weighing nearly 4 pounds, and according to local reports, was in perfect health.
“Behind this joy, we can’t forget the pain the family is feeling over the loss of this young woman,” explained one of the doctors working at Milan’s San Raffaele hospital, the Daily Mail reported.
Although keeping the mother alive long enough to save her baby was an easy decision for the hospital, what happens when the family of the woman doesn’t actually want this? A case of this exact kind is currently going underway in Dublin, Ireland.
A 17-week pregnant woman in Ireland is also currently being kept alive in order to save the life of her unborn children; however, her parents insist this is against their personal wishes. As reported by The Independent Ireland, the woman’s parents have expressed their desire for their daughter’s life support to be switched off, despite the fact that this guarantees the death of their grandchild.
Although choosing to take an individual off of life support is a relatively simple request to carry out, restrictive abortion laws in Ireland are making the situation rather tricky. In Ireland, abortion is only legal if the life of the mother is in danger or if the child has a life-threatening abnormality. Because none of these are present in this case, doctors are legally required to do everything within their means to save the life of the child, even if this means keeping the daughter hooked up to a ventilator against her parents’ wishes.
The parents are reported to be seeking legal action to pull their daughter off of life support, The Independent reported. According to Metro, a Dublin high court will most likely make the final decision whether or not to keep the young woman on life support.
Udate: The Irish court ruled in December that the family had the right to switch off the life support machine of their, at the time, 18-weeks pregnant brain-dead daughter. Mother and unborn child have since passed.