A baby has been born in Portugal almost four months after his mother was declared brain-dead.
The boy Lourenco Salvador , who weighed 5lb 3oz (2.4kg), was delivered by caesarean section at Lisbon’s São José hospital at 32 weeks, after his mother, 37, suffered a brain haemorrhage on 20 February.
Doctors were about to switch off her life support – but were astonished when they found a heartbeat inside the ‘dead’ woman.
One doctor said, ‘Never in my life have I had a dead person with a live baby inside of her.’
The decision to continue with the pregnancy was made in consultation with the father.
“The foetus appeared to be in good health,” the hospital said in a statement. “The decision was taken with the family to follow through with the pregnancy.”
The father, Miguel, who lives near Lisbon said in an interview with the Daily Mirror, ‘She was taken in on the Saturday and they were going to pull the plug on Sunday.
‘I was dealing with the sadness of her death and then there is this joy inside.
‘It was strange. I hoped my son would survive but I thought it was a long shot. It was a long time to wait, to get to 32 weeks.
“Every day I feared the phone call saying he hadn’t made it.’
Luis Graça, head of the Portuguese Society of Obstetricians, said the birth was “an extraordinary feat”.
It is the longest a child has survived in the womb in Portugal after a mother has been declared brain-dead.