Tags: brain-dead | pregnant | woman | life support

Brain-Dead Pregnant Woman: Ireland Court Rules Life Support Can End

By    |   Friday, 26 Dec 2014 04:53 PM

A pregnant woman in Ireland who is brain-dead will be taken off of life support after a court ruled that her 18-week-old fetus would not survive long enough to be born, a decision that surprised doctors in a country with strict rules against abortion.

The Dublin High Court made the ruling after hearing testimony that efforts to keep the woman on life support until the baby could safely be delivered would likely fail.

“The doctors detailed how the woman's body was becoming a lethal environment rife with infections, fungal growths, fever and high blood pressure,” said The Associated Press.

The case drew attention because doctors in the country were confused with how to balance Ireland’s strict abortion ban with advances in medical technology in cases such as these.

The woman’s family had wanted her life support to be turned off.

A judge on the case said leaving her on support would “deprive her of dignity in death," the BBC said.

"It would subject her father, her partner and her young children to unimaginable distress in a futile exercise which commenced only because of fears held by treating medical specialists of potential legal consequences," the judge said.

The woman was declared brain dead on Dec. 3 after she had a brain injury from a fall. Doctors had not wanted to turn off her life support because they were concerned they would face charges for harming the fetus.

During testimony, one doctor said that he and his colleagues struggled to determine how Ireland’s ban on abortion was applied in circumstances like these.

"There is no obligation to use extraordinary means to maintain a life. That applies both to the woman and to the child," Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said, according to the AP. "A woman isn't simply an incubator. The relation between a woman and a child is a relationship, and it is very clear that one has to examine at what stage is this fetus, what are the possibilities."

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A pregnant woman in Ireland who is brain-dead will be taken off of life support after a court ruled that her 18-week-old fetus would not survive long enough to be born, a decision that surprised doctors in a country with strict rules against abortion.
brain-dead, pregnant, woman, life support
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2014-53-26
Friday, 26 Dec 2014 04:53 PM
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