Woman Paralyzed by Drug Injection Gives Birth

Associated Press

A 26-weeks pregnant woman, paralyzed since she was mistakenly injected with an anti-cancer drug last month, gave birth to a baby girl by Caesarean section Saturday, medical officials said.

Doctors at Albany Medical Center Hospital said the 1-pound, 15-ounce girl was breathing on her own as well as on a respirator and has a 60% chance of surviving. The child was named Lillian Kathy.

Dr. Anthony Tartaglia, the hospital's vice president of patient and clinical affairs, said a decision was made Saturday morning to induce the birth after Lillian Cedeno, 21, developed breathing difficulties overnight, and X-rays confirmed that her lungs had been injured by her brain damage.

Cedeno of Schenectady was undergoing chemotherapy for a malignant tumor in her sinuses on Feb. 27 when staff residents misread the label on a syringe and incorrectly injected a drug called vincristine into her spinal column.

She has been paralyzed since and has been in a coma for a week, breathing with the aid of a respirator. Hospital officials said she has little chance of surviving.

"For the first weeks of the baby's life the most critical aspect are the lungs," said Dr. Allan Geis, a member of the hospital's neonatal unit.

Cedeno was not in imminent danger of dying, Tartaglia said, but the lung problem was a critical factor in the decision to deliver because, if she had trouble getting oxygen, the fetus' oxygen supply would also be affected.

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