Well-known international sportswomen Catarina Sequeira had been pronounced brain dead following an acute asthma attack at her house. Weeks later, her baby named Salvador, was born and is being cared for at a neonatal hospital. She was 32 weeks pregnant at the time of birth.
Reports confirm this is the second known case in Portugal of a baby born to a mother that was declared brain dead. The beloved canoeist who had represented her country had asthma since she was a little girl.
Her condition resulted in her having an asthma attack when she was 19 weeks pregnant. She was induced into a coma, although despite the doctor’s efforts her health decreased quickly and within days she was pronounced brain dead on December 26.
According to the reports, she was on a ventilator for 56 days to provide the baby with the nutrients she needed to survive in her womb.
Medical experts mentioned that the decision had been put off till Friday, for the mother to reach 32 weeks gestation, but her respiratory condition had deteriorated, which caused them to perform a Caesarean section.
The doctors explained that Thirty-two weeks is the point where babies are considered to have a high probability of survival. According to the head of the hospital’s ethics committee, Filipe Almeida, the decision to keep the baby alive was made by the family and the fact that she had never exited Portugal’s presumed-consent organ donation law.
“Being a donor is not just about being in a position to donate a liver or heart or lung, but also being in a position to give yourself so a child can live,” he explained. “And no-one has the right to interrupt the mother’s decision process,” he told the Observador website.
The newborn weighed in at 3.75 lbs and is said to remain in the hospital for three weeks to ensure the best chances of survival.
According to medical reports, in 2016 a baby, Lourenço, was born in Lisbon. He survived for 15 weeks in his dead mother’s womb.