A brain-dead pregnant woman has been allowed to die, after an Irish court finally permitted her family to remove her from the life support machines that were keeping her decaying body alive. The pregnant woman suffered a head injury from an accidental fall while hospitalized for a brain cyst at the hospital in late November. By December 4, 2014, she was declared brain dead by doctors. Due to Irish laws giving a fetus the same rights as its mother, doctors were unable to remove the woman from life support despite her family’s wishes, according to the Irish Times.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the pregnant brain-dead woman has not been identified in the media by name, but she was said to be a mother-of-two in her late 20s. Her family and her partner wanted to withdraw life support sooner, but strict Irish laws regarding abortion forced doctors at the unidentified hospital to take extreme measures in an attempt to keep the woman’s unborn fetus alive until it could be delivered.
Unfortunately, the woman’s physical condition was deteriorating rapidly, leaving her unrecognizable even to family members. Her body was ravaged by infection. She had a gaping head wound, and her brain was rotting as she lay in her hospital bed. Multiple doctors testified to a three-judge High Court panel that the unborn fetus would not survive even if the woman’s body was kept alive throughout the remainder of her pregnancy.
Attorneys were appointed to represent the pregnant woman and her 18-week fetus. Neither attorney appealed the Dublin High Court’s decision, which was based on the unlikelihood of the baby being born alive. Her family and partner were not represented.
The court ruled that maintaining somatic life support would deprive the woman “of dignity in death and 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.”
On Saturday morning, in the presence of her loved ones, doctors withdrew somatic life support treatment three weeks after she was declared to be brain dead.
According to USA Today, approximately 4,000 Irish women have abortions in England annually. The procedure has been legal there since 1967. Although Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin declined to comment on the case of the pregnant brain-dead woman in Ireland, the Catholic Church is looking for answers about situations such as this, wherein the fetus has no chance of survival.
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