A premature baby rescued by Gaza doctors from her dead mother’s womb last week has died due to complications and power cuts affecting the intensive care unit where she was treated.
The six-day-old baby was born by emergency Caesarean section Friday after doctors at Deir al-Balah hospital in central Gaza managed to save her from the womb of her mother, who died when an Israeli tank shell hit her home.
The mother, 23-year-old Shayma al-Sheikh Qanan, had been eight months pregnant, and the baby was named after her.
But the baby was deprived of oxygen between her mother’s death and doctors being able to operate, which meant she had to be hooked up to a respirator at the maternity ward in Khan Yunis hospital in southern Gaza.
“The baby suffered an oxygen deficiency in the womb after her mother’s heart stopped,” Dr Abdel Karem al-Bawab, head of the maternity ward at Nasser hospital, told AFP Thursday.
“This deficiency caused the baby to asphyxiate unexpectedly, rendering her brain dead,” he said of the tragedy, which occurred Wednesday.
“The ongoing electricity shortages played a role because her oxygen tubes did not work properly and we had to resuscitate her more than once manually.”
Doctors told AFP earlier this week that her vital signs were stable but said she would have to be on the respirator for “at least three more weeks.”