Case of 24-week fetus delivered from mother on life support with brain-death from suicide attempt: Ethical issues associated with severe complications

Takeshi Nishimura, Keisuke Kohama, Takaaki Osako, Taihei Yamada, Hiroyuki Tanaka, Atsunori Nakao, Joji Kotani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Advances in critical care medicine have made it possible to sustain vital organ systems in brain-dead patients. One clinical scenario besides donor organ retrieval in which a benefit may be gained from continuing life support is pregnancy. A pregnant woman in her late 30's at 23 weeks gestation exhibiting worsening depression was referred to the Department of Psychiatry. One day after admission she attempted suicide by hanging and suffered a cardiopulmonary arrest. A fetal heart beat and fetal motion was confirmed immediately after resuscitation. Three days after admission, an emergency Cesarean section (CS) was performed because of her unstable hemodynamic situation. The baby was born and the mother died after delivery. The baby presented neurological complications. Such a case should be managed collaboratively among professional experts in several medical teams. Consensus and recommendations for the management of similar scenarios may also be adjusted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-392
Number of pages4
JournalActa Medica Okayama
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes



  • Brain-dead mother
  • Somatic support
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this