Brain-dead Canadian woman gives birth


A brain-dead woman in British Columbia has delivered a baby, more than six weeks after she suffered a devastating brain haemorrhage. Robyn Benson, 32, collapsed on December 28 when she was 5 months pregnant. Her husband Dylan asked that she be kept alive on a ventilator long enough so that her son Iver could be safely delivered.

This contrasts with a parallel case in Texas in which a 33-year-old pregnant woman was declared brain-dead in November. However, the family of Marlise Muñoz sued to have her taken off life support. They alleged that it was against her wishes to survive on life support and that the foetus was not viable.

On February 8, Iver was delivered by Caesarean section 12 weeks prematurely. Robyn was taken off life support and her heart stopped functioning the next day.

Mr Benson kept the world posted on the state of his wife and son in a series of emotional blog posts. He also asked friends and readers for donations to cover the enormous cost of medical care. His goal was C$36,000, but he has raised at least $160,000.

According to media reports, there have been about 30 cases of “posthumous motherhood”. Caring for a brain-dead patient on a ventilator is not easy, a specialist told the New York Times. A complex mix of drugs and hormones is needed to maintain blood pressure and keep the heart beating.




MORE ON THESE TOPICS | brain dead pregnant women, brain death

This article is published by Michael Cook and BioEdge under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.

 
 Search BioEdge

 Subscribe to BioEdge newsletter
rss Subscribe to BioEdge RSS feed


 Best of the web
 
comments powered by Disqus