Pregnant woman brain dead for three months due to asthma attack gives birth to baby boy then has life support switched off hours later

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A PREGNANT international sportswoman who was brain dead for three months has given birth to a “miracle” baby boy, before her life support was switched off hours later.

Talented canoeist Catarina Sequeira, 26, had been declared brain dead after she suffered an acute asthma attack at her home, when she was 19 weeks’ pregnant.

Catarina Sequeira, 26, has given birth to a boy after being brain dead for 56 days

A funeral was held today for the athlete whose baby, named Salvador, was born in Porto, Portugal, when she was nearly 32 weeks’ pregnant.

The BBC says that Catarina was an athlete who represented Portugal at international events, but had suffered from asthma since she was a child.

She had been put in an induced coma after an asthma attack, but was declared brain dead within days, on December 26.

At a media conference, Hercília Guimarães, head of the neonatal department at the São João University Hospital Centre, said that the baby, who weighed 3.7lb (1.7kg) when born, was as healthy as “any other premature infant at the same gestation”.

He said that Salvador was “the first baby born to a brain-dead mother”, in the hospital.

Catarina had been kept alive for 56 days on a ventilator until she suffered “respiratory deterioration”, which prompted doctors to perform a caesarean section a day earlier than planned.

PRESUMED CONSENT

CM Jornal spoke with Salvador’s dad, who confirmed he will stay with his “miracle baby”.

Bruno Sapolo said: “The baby is good. I ask you to respect my silence.”

According to Record PT, the baby is healthy, but needs respiratory support, “which is normal for the time of gestation”.

Obstetrician Marina Moucho said that the C-section was carried out on Thursday because his mum was experiencing “respiratory deterioration and there was difficulty ventilating the mother that resulted in some changes in the baby.

“The baby was not in pain, but there were some changes justified by the difficulty in maternal ventilation, and it was decided to end the pregnancy, which was considered to be the best for him.”

Filipe Almeida, head of the hospital’s ethics committee, told the Observador website that the decision to keep the baby alive while his mum was on life support was made after discussions with the athlete’s family.


Also, Catarina had never opted out of Portugal’s presumed-consent organ donation law.

Filipe added: “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.

“And no one has the right to interrupt the mother’s decision process.”

Portugal Resident said it was the second “miracle baby” born in the country, after Salvador Lourenço was born in Lisbon in 2016, before his mum’s life support was switched off.

The baby was born by C-section at the Hospital of St John of Porto in Portugal, above
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