A woman who was already on life support for as many as 123 days because she was brain damaged, has given birth to a set of twins.
Accoding to Metro UK report, a brain-dead mother identified as Frankielen da Silva Zampoli Padilha, successfully gave birth to twins after doctors managed to keep her alive on life support for 123 days – the longest period in medical history.
21-year-old Frankielen da Silva Zampoli Padilha died during pregnancy in October last year after suffering a stroke.
Metro UK reports that doctors at the Nosso Senhora do Rocio hospital in Campo Largo made the ground-breaking decision to try and save the nine-week-old embryos after their hearts continued to beat inside their mother’s womb.
In February this year, the boy and girl were born at seven months and discharged from hospital at the end of day.
Their father, Muriel Padilha, 24, has described the birth of his children, Asaph and Anna Vitoria, as a miracle.
The babies’ fight for life reduced the Brazilian doctors to tears as they provided unprecedented levels of care that included decorating the space around her.
The unique case involved many complications and were only stabilised thanks to continuous supply of medications to prevent the young mum’s body from shutting down.
After the ventilator was switched off in February, her heart and kidneys were donated to save the lives of two others.
Muriel, who also has a two-year-old daughter, Isa Beatriz, with his wife, said: ‘I was on my way to work last October when Frankielen called begging me to come back home urgently.
‘She said her head was killing her. I told her to take a tablet. But she said there was a sharp pain at the back of her neck and it was so strong she felt she was going to collapse.’
Muriel, an agriculture farmer, rushed to his home in Contenda, to find his wife shaking, crying, dizzy and vomiting from the pain.
‘As I drove her to hospital, she said “I want you to be prepared to accept this because I will be staying there, I won’t be coming home”.’
‘Then she passed out and those were the last words she spoke to me and the last time I saw her alive.’
Doctors diagnosed Frankielen with a cerebral haemorrhage – a vein had burst inside her head and she arrived at the hospital with severe bleeding on the brain.
After three days conducting numerous tests and scans, physicians declared the young mum brain dead and warned Muriel there was no hope for the twins.
The distraught husband said: ‘They told me they would give the babies three more days of life because they had given my wife multiple CT scans, sedated her with powerful drugs and pumped her full of antibiotics and this meant everything had ended up in our babies.
‘They said as soon as their little hearts stopped beating, they would turn off the gadgets and I would be able to bury my wife.’
But the babies’ hearts didn’t stop.
Dr Dalton Rivabem, head of Neurological ICU, who was responsible for the case revealed: ‘We did an ultrasound on the embryos thinking they would be failing in the womb but to our surprise they were clinging to life.
‘Frankielen’s organs were all intact and working as if she was still with us. We took the decision to keep her alive to save her unborn children. And every day we watched them grow normally.’
As it was unknown territory for the medical team, Dr Rivabem sought help from a physician in Portugal who had handled a similar case where a foetus gestated for 107-day before being born.
‘There have been other cases, but ours is the longest one with 123 days – four months, and we started with embryos at two months and delivered twins,’ said Dr Rivabem, adding the exchange of information with his Portuguese counterpart was ‘very helpful’.
He continued: ‘It was an extremely challenging case which required intensive multidisciplinary work.
‘There were many complications with continuous support of medications to maintain pressure, maintain oxygenation, maintain continuous nutrition and hormonal balance. We used antibiotics during the entire hospitalisation period.’
Medical treatment was based on 24-hour hemodynamic monitoring, measuring blood pressure in the veins, heart and arteries, along with blood flow and the amount of oxygen coursing through the body.
The twins were checked by ultrasound every day.
Dr Rivabem explained: ‘One of our main concerns was to keep the organ functions continual for the babies to grow and develop.’
The other concern was to find ways to ensure the infants felt the love and affection their mother could not give.
Muriel and his family visited every day and over 20 professionals were involved in the caring for the patient and her babies.
On the ward, doctors, nurses, nutritionists, physiotherapists and a raft of health professionals developed a remarkable routine of singing, talking and caressing Frankielen’s pregnant belly.
Chaplain and music therapist, Erika Checan, said: ‘We found children’s songs and played them to the babies in the womb. We even made up tunes exclusively for them.
‘And we decorated the area around Frankielen’s bed. The ICU was filled with love, affection and encouragement for the babies and their family to succeed. We said, ‘we love you’ every day they were here.’
Dr Rivabem added: ‘The success of this case was down to great teamwork and, of course, to a divine purpose.’
Dozens of people across Brazil, touched by the family’s plight, raised thousands of pounds in support, with many donating baby clothes, nappies and accessories for the little ones.
Muriel is using some of the funds to renovate the family home to house his children.
The pair are now being looked after by Frankielen’s mother, Angela Silva, while Muriel works to keep bread on the table.
Angela said: ‘I’m so proud of my daughter. It’s been hard losing her but she was a warrior right until the end, protecting her beautiful children and giving them life until the day she finally died.’