A “bouncing baby boy” was delivered by Cesarean section here Tuesday, 104 days after his mother was declared brain-dead from a shooting.
Doctors at Highland General Hospital said the baby was born four weeks premature and developed some respiratory problems, but doctors said they expect him to do well.
“This is a miracle,” Dr. Richard Fulroth said of the 4-pound, 15-ounce baby. “The baby is a nice, fully developed male infant.”
Doctors said they knew of only one other fetus that had lived longer inside the womb of a brain-dead mother. In that case some years ago in Vermont, the mother had been brain-dead since about the 16th week of pregnancy.
In this case, 28-year-old Trisha Marshall was declared brain-dead in the 17th week of pregnancy. Members of her family and a man who claimed to be the baby’s father asked doctors to try to keep the fetus alive.
During the ensuing three months, intensive-care nurses gave Marshall round-the-clock attention as she was fed a fluid diet, bathed and carefully monitored.
Wendy Michelson, manager of the intensive care unit, said nurses tried to focus on the living fetus rather than the brain-dead mother, although the experience “was a little weird.”
The delivery was prompted when the mother developed high blood pressure Tuesday and doctors feared the baby would be harmed. After the birth, life-support systems that had kept the mother’s body functioning were turned off.
Officials at the county hospital estimated the cost of the case at $200,000, but refused to say who would pay the bill.
Because of the respiratory problems, the baby was transferred to nearby Children’s Hospital.
It was not immediately known what would would happen to the baby. Hospital officials would say only that he was in the custody of Alameda County Child Protective Services.