July 6, 2022

Pregnant woman on life support kept alive for baby

A pregnant woman in a coma will give birth to a baby.

A Virginia woman whose brain function ceased last month will be kept on life support until her baby is about 30 weeks old and can survive a premature birth. Susan Torres, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health, fell into a coma when a melanoma invaded her brain. She has no chance of recovery, but her husband Peter has decided that she would want to be kept alive so that her baby can live. This option will be terribly expensive, as the couple’s health insurance will cover only a small part of the cost, which is about US$7,500 a day.

Since 1977, at least nine women in comas have given birth in the US, according to researchers at the University of Connecticut. Women with aggressive melanoma have borne children in the US, the UK and Canada, although not all of them survived.

Michael Cook
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