Unborn baby to spend up to 3 months in womb of brain-dead mother

Unborn baby to spend up to 3 months in womb of brain-dead motherTel AvivĀ  - A brain dead Palestinian woman in her sixth month of pregnancy is being kept on life support in an Israeli hospital until doctors can deliver her unborn baby, a hospital spokeswoman said Thursday.

The baby may have to spend the full three months in the womb of his dead mother, said Leah Malul, the spokeswoman of Barzilia hospital.

The hospital is located in the southern Israeli coastal city of Ashekelon, at some 12 kilometres from the Gaza Strip. It treats some 30 to 35 Palestinians from the impoverished strip daily, she said.

The mother, in her 30s, was with her husband in a Gaza cafe when she suddenly felt unwell. She suffered a stroke and was transferred to Israel when the Gaza hospital she had been brought to was unable to treat her.

The Israeli doctors were keeping the woman on life support at her husband's request, she told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

She pointed out that continuing the pregnancy was highly risky and the unborn baby may have been harmed by the stroke as well, but added "it is too early to know.

"The woman's body is functioning as normal and the foetus is getting a continuous supply of blood," said Professor Eyal Antabi, who heads the hospital's maternity ward.

"Our goal is for him to remain in his mother's womb until the final month of pregnancy. As long as the mother's body continues to function as normal, there is no reason to get him out before, because that could lead to future complications," he told the Israeli Yediot Ahronot daily.

Spokeswoman Malul said the case was exceptionally rare. (dpa)