Catarina Sequeira gave birth after being brain dead in hospital for 56 days. She died shortly after. Picture: Supplied
Catarina Sequeira gave birth after being brain dead in hospital for 56 days. She died shortly after. Picture: Supplied

Bittersweet twist for brain dead mum

A mum who has been brain dead since December, has given birth to a baby boy in Portugal.

Catarina Sequeira, 26, gave birth to a baby boy called Salvador before her death after being brain dead for 56 days following an acute asthma attack.

It had been the doctors' aim that she would reach 32 weeks, but just days before she reached that milestone her condition deteriorated and the baby was delivered by Cesarean section on Thursday, the NZ Herald reports.

Catarina Sequeira gave birth after being brain dead in hospital for 56 days. Picture: Supplied
Catarina Sequeira gave birth after being brain dead in hospital for 56 days. Picture: Supplied

The former athlete was put into an induced coma after suffering the serious asthma attack at her home on December 26.

She was 19 weeks pregnant when she went into the coma and for 56 days a ventilator kept her breathing so that baby Salvador could survive, the BBC reported.

It was Portugal's presumed consent laws which kept the baby alive, as well as the wishes of Miss Sequeira's family.

The hospital's ethics adviser, Felipe Almeida, told the Observador: "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."

Miss Sequeira's mother, Fatima Branco, said: "I have a bitter joy. I do not want to meet my grandson with this bitterness."

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She described how she could not fill the void of her daughter's loss with her grandson, but would have to grieve and "close the chapter" of her daughter's life first.

The infant was born weighing just 1.7kgs and will remain in the hospital for at least three weeks.

Catarina Sequeira's funeral was believed to have happened the day after the bub's arrival.

This is the second time in recent years a child has been born to a brain dead woman in Portugal, in 2016 a child called Lourenco was born in Lisbon after surviving 15 weeks in his dead mother's womb.

This article originally appeared on The NZ Herald and was reproduced with permission



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