German woman in vegetative state bears child
Erlangen (Germany): A German woman who is in a persistent vegetative state has given birth to a baby 22 weeks after suffering a heart attack that cut off the blood flow to her brain, doctors in Erlangen said Friday.The healthy baby was born several months ago, but it was not announced at the time to protect the family`s privacy. The woman is 40 years old.
Supervised pregnancies of brain-damaged women have been controversial ever since the first such birth in the 1980s in the US. There was controversy in 1992 as to whether two similar cases in Germany were ethical.
Doctors at Erlangen University Hospital said the new German case was the first involving a patient who had suffered a heart attack.
People in a persistent vegetative state wake up in the daytime and open their eyes, but do not respond to conversation and show no detectable awareness of anything happening around them.
The heart attack in the 13th week of her pregnancy halted her blood circulation and damaged her brain.
First Published: Saturday, October 10, 2009, 00:00
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