Pregnant woman kept alive in coma for nearly 2 months to save baby

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WATERLOO, Neb. — A woman who appeared to suffer a stroke while 22 weeks pregnant was able to give birth to a baby while in a coma after her family decided to keep the mother alive long enough for the child to be born.

According to WOWT in Omaha, Neb., Karla Perez, 22, collapsed at her Waterloo home in early February.

At first she thought it was just a bad headache, but it turned out to be much worse than that.

WOWT reports she appeared to have suffered a stroke. A CT scan later revealed a brain bleed.

According to the report she was later declared brain dead. Perez’s family chose to keep her body alive, until her baby could be born.

“At 22 weeks a baby can’t survive outside of the uterus or outside of the womb and so if we were going to give baby Angel any chance of survival we were going to have to prolong Karla’s pregnancy as long as possible with the minimum being possibly 24 weeks,” Todd Lovgren, a maternal-fetal medicine doctor, told WOWT.

A team of more than 100 doctors, nurses and medical staff helped to keep Perez alive for eight weeks, so that her son, Angel, could be born.

In early April Perez’s condition worsened and the hospital chose to proceed with a C-section.

According to WOWT Angel was born at 2 lbs. 12.6 oz., and was immediately admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit.

“When Angel was born, he had some initial respiratory struggles and wasn’t effective enough to be breathing on his own. ” Dr. Brady Kerr told the station. “We had to put a breathing tube in in the delivery room, stabilized him and brought him to the ICU.”

Kerr added: “He’s been very stable really since. We took his breathing tube out; he remains on a nasal device now to breathe and he’s on a full feeding tube.”

According to multiple reports only a couple of dozen babies in the past several decades have been born after maternal somatic support following brain death.

“Thank God. He’s doing very well. He’s growing and I’m very happy about it.” said the baby’s grandmother, Berta. “I come to see him every day. I get him dressed, I give him baths, I change him, I hold him.”

According to WOWT Perez was an organ donor, and her organs helped save the lives of three other people after her death.


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