A brain dead pregnant woman was kept alive on a life support for almost two months so that the baby she was carrying could be saved, officials have revealed.
Doctors at the Methodist Health System in Nebraska said this week that that a 100-strong team of doctors and nurses had kept 22-year-old mother Karla Perez alive for 54 days. This was long enough, just, to deliver her baby by cesarean section.
Officials said that baby Angel, weighing two pounds and 16 ounces, was delivered without problems at the beginning of last month.
“Our team took a giant leap of faith,” said Sue Korth, vice president of Methodist Women's Hospital, according to NBC.
“We were attempting something that not many before us have been able to do."
The procedure, not used in the US since 1999, was made necessary after Ms Perez collapsed in her home in Waterloo, Nebraska, on February 8 after complaining of severe headaches. Doctors later determined she had suffered a brain bleed.
At that point, Ms Perez’s baby was at just 22 weeks and too young to survive outside the womb. Doctor's had hoped to sustain Ms Perez long enough to deliver her baby at 32 weeks, but the young woman’s condition deteriorated. As a result Angel was delivered on April 4.
Angel was in an incubator and feeding through a tube, the hospital group said on Thursday. “We are cautiously optimistic,” said neonatologist Dr Brady Kerr.
The hospital said that Ms Perez was declared brain dead on April 6 - two days after her daughter was delivered. On April 9 her liver, two kidneys and heart were delivered to donors.
"Angel’s first cry was bittersweet," the hospital said in a statement. "She meant he was alive, but Karla was gone."
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