Baby Delivered by Brain-Dead Mother on Life Support for 54 Days Leaves Hospital

The baby's mother was kept on life support for 54 days.

June 10, 2015, 6:49 PM

— -- The baby who was born to a brain-dead woman on life support has finally left the hospital and is now in his new home with his maternal grandparents in Waterloo, Nebraska.

Angel Perez was delivered via Caesarean section April 4, 54 days after his mother, Karla Perez, was declared brain dead, Methodist Women's Hospital in Omaha said in a statement.

Perez, 22, who was already a mother of one and pregnant with her second child, complained of a headache in early February, collapsed in her home and was found to have suffered a brain hemorrhage, the hospital told ABC News today in a statement.

"It was then that we had decisions to make," Dr. Andrew Robertson of Methodist Women’s Hospital Perinatal Center said. "Karla’s baby was fine, but its gestational age was too young to consider delivery. That’s when the team and Karla’s family agreed to attempt to provide somatic support and maintain Karla’s pregnancy until her baby reached a viable gestational age."

Perez became the first person on record in the United States, since 1999, whose body was kept alive to have her pregnancy maintained, according to the hospital.

On April 4, 54 days after Perez was declared brain-dead, her status was declining and the medical team decided to deliver her infant, the hospital said.

Baby Angel arrived at 11:47 a.m. at 30 weeks and three days, doctors said, adding that he only weighed 2 pounds 12.6 ounces.

"Angel’s first cry was bittersweet – it meant he was alive, but Karla was gone," the hospital wrote. The deceased young mother was confirmed dead April 6, and her organs were donated April 9.

"Not only does Karla’s legacy live on through Angel, but also through the four individuals who benefited from her liver, two kidneys and her heart," the hospital said.

After months in the neonatal intensive care unit, Angel gained 4 pounds and was found healthy enough to go home Tuesday, the hospital announced.

Angel is staying with his maternal grandparents, Modesto and Berta Jimenez, the hospital added.

"Our team took a giant leap of faith," said Sue Korth, vice president and COO of Methodist Women’s Hospital. "We were attempting something that not many before us have been able to do. I couldn’t be more proud of our medical team and the more than 100 staff who were a part of her care. Karla’s loss of life was difficult, but the legacy she has left behind is remarkable."