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Baby Of Brain-Dead Teen Delivered By C-Section

May 12, 1989

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) _ A brain-dead teen-ager whose plight became the focus of a right-to-life debate delivered a premature baby by Caesarean section Thursday while on life- support machinery.

The baby girl, who weighed about five pounds and was seven weeks premature, was listed in very critical condition Thursday afternoon, said Charles Jervis, director of the San Bernardino County Medical Center.

The baby is suffering breathing difficulty because her lungs are insufficiently developed.

The mother, Tanya Marie Rivera, 15, was pronounced brain dead after she was shot in the head two months ago.

In March, her divorced parents requested that their pregnant daughter be disconnected from life-support equipment, leading to protests by the Right to Life League of Southern California. The parents later reversed their position.

Jervis said the mother began having contractions Wednesday afternoon. The doctors tried desperately to halt them with medication, but the fetus’ life became threatened.

″On the morning of May 11, the fetus began to demonstrate signs of fetal distress in response to the uterine contractions and the decision was made to perform an emergency Caesarean,″ Jervis said.

Doctors said the baby girl was suffering from hyaline membrane disease, caused by a deficiency of a bodily chemical that normally coats tiny sacs within the lung, where blood in the membrane absorbs oxygen. Without the chemical, called surficant, the sacs collapse with each breath the baby takes.

″Tanya has continued to remain on life-support system pending parents’ notification of their wishes,″ Jervis said.

Miss Rivera was declared brain dead March 15 after she was shot in the head, allegedly by her 16-year-old boyfriend, who police said is believed to be the father of the child.

The boyfriend, known by the gang street name ″Stymie,″ is in jail in Los Angeles in connection with an unrelated murder charge. The juvenile’s name has not been released by authorities.

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