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15 Oct, 2009 19:27

Seven month comatose woman gives birth

A Russian woman, who still lies in a coma after seven months, has given birth to a child, reports Russian medical website medportal.ru.

As a result of a horrible car crash the woman slipped into coma and remains in a vegetative condition despite efforts of the best neurosurgeons available.

At the time of the crash a gynecological examination revealed she was ten weeks pregnant. The accident was so bad that the injured woman had to be cut out of what remained of the vehicle.

Numerous operations failed to revive the patient to consciousness and the pregnancy only complicated the situation.

An abortion is a common option in such cases, but taking into consideration the stable condition of the patient and the pleading of the relatives, medics decided to take chances and keep the fetus.

For the next seven months, from 10 to 38 weeks of pregnancy, the patient remained in an intensive care unit. A regular delivery was out of question, so Caesarean operation was the only option.

Specialists from Russia’s leading Moscow Institute of Obstetrics and Gynecology gave consultations during the operation conducted in the central clinic of the city of Domodedovo near Moscow. The operation proved to be a success, and the newborn was immediately taken to the regional Perinatal Center to an awaiting mobile intensive care unit.

The baby still needs medical attention but the prognosis is favorable, and doctors are planning to pass the child in care of the relatives. The mother, however, remains in a vegetative state.

Andrey Akopyan, director of the Republican Human Reproduction Center, told RT that doctors broke the rules this time and focused on the health of the unborn baby, and not the mother.

“The priority in such a situation is the woman's life, because the doctors’ goal is to save human life,” Akopyan said. “A fetus becomes a human only after birth. According to medical rules, if the woman has a chance to survive, doctors would have to carry out an abortion. I don't really know what happened this time; maybe the doctors decided that she wouldn't survive anyway, maybe relatives asked to save the fetus, but this time her body was just used as a reservoir to grow a fetus.”

“I don't really think doctors have to continue fighting for her life, because she hasn't had any improvement recently,” he added. “And nowadays there are not as many ethical questions in medicine. But this time the doctors broke all the medical rules by helping the fetus to survive and I think that was the right and smart decision.”

The chief obstetrician-gynecologist of the Moscow region Aleksandr Gridchik says this is the first time a baby has been born after such a long coma. Albeit extremely rare, similar cases have happened across the world.

The first time a woman in a vegetative state gave birth was in the US in the 1980s.

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