The funeral of a Portuguese woman was held Friday, just one day after she gave birth to her son Salvador despite being medically brain dead since December.
Catarina Sequeira, 26, was placed in a medically-induced coma after a severe asthma fit in late 2018 when she was 19 weeks pregnant. She was declared brain dead on December 26 but both her family and Portugal’s presume consent laws kept the baby alive despite the mother’s compromised condition.
Doctors at the Hospital of St. John in Porto had hoped to delay the birth until Sequeira was 32 weeks pregnant on Friday but her condition deteriorated Thursday, forcing the medical staff to induce birth via Cesarean section.
“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,” the hospital’s ethics adviser, Felipe Almeida, told the Observador.
At birth, baby Salvador weighed just 3.75lbs (1.7kg) and will be closely monitored in the hospital for the next three weeks. Sequeira had been brain dead for a total of 56 days prior to the birth.
“I have a bitter joy. I do not want to meet my grandson with this bitterness,” the boy’s grandmother Fatima Branco said, as cited by the Daily Mail.
It is the second time in recent years that a child was born to a brain dead mother in Portugal: in 2016, a boy named Laurenco was born in Lisbon to a mother who had been brain dead for 15 weeks.
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