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‘Miracle baby’ out of intensive care and in to legal battle

baby2012The ‘miracle baby’ born in Lisbon to a brain-dead mother is out of intensive care and has a name, Lourenço Salvador.

Sandra Pedro, the mother he will never know, has been allowed to die and has been buried by her family, leaving Lourenço’s future in the hands of his father and grandparents. Sandra had been diagnosed with kidney cancer and suffered a catastrophic drop in blood pressure leading to a brain haemorrhage.

The baby’s mother had been classified as brain-dead 107 days before the birth. Laurenço is doing well and has been transferred from the ICU to the neo-natal area of the Alfredo da Costa Maternity Hospital in Lisbon where he will remain for at least three weeks.

Lourenço may be doing well but the legal situation triggered by his birth has the ethics committee and lawyers scratching their heads.

At first, Lourenço’s father, 30-year-old Miguel Ângelo Faria, said he was unable to care for his son opening the way for the State to assume its role ‘in loco parentis.’

The baby’s maternal grandparents had leapt at the chance to care for the mite and wanted custody, something that only a court could decide and only if there were compelling reasons.

Faria then decided that he did want custody after all, blaming his earlier rejection on a lack of understanding of the paternity leave laws in Portugal that will allow him time off until the end of the year to care for his son.

Legally, little Laurenço is the ward of the Public Ministry and has been since his mother was declared brain-dead.

Unless there is a successful custody action by Sanda Pedro’s parents, Miguel Ângelo Faria as father should be able to assume full parental rights if he is able to arrange suitable care for Laurenço after Faria returns to work after a period of extended paternity leave.