Comatose nine-day-old baby girl in China saves another child with her kidneys

The baby's harvested kidneys were assigned to two patients in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei province, via the China Organ Transplant Response System.
The baby's harvested kidneys were assigned to two patients in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei province, via the China Organ Transplant Response System.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A nine-day-old infant who was in deep coma has saved another child's life, after her parents donated her kidneys.

The infant became the youngest donor in the history of south-west China's Yunnan province, Kunming-based City Times reported.

The infant's mother, surnamed Zuo, suffered from placental abruption and gave birth to the baby girl on July 17.

Placental abruption is the separation of the placenta from the uterus before the baby is born. The condition can deprive the baby of oxygen and nutrients and cause heavy bleeding in the mother.

The baby girl had severe asphyxia and was in deep coma. Despite rescue efforts, she was diagnosed as brain dead on the seventh day of her birth.

She was the second child of her family and her parents had looked forward to her birth.

"Though my child had a short life, I hope her organs can save other children's lives," said the baby girl's father.

Entrusted by the baby's mother, the father signed documents to permit the donation.

"The family experienced such a blow but thought to help others. We are deeply moved," said staff member of the Red Cross Society of China Li Ke, who witnessed the signing ceremony.

After an evaluation, the baby's kidneys were deemed qualified to be donated. She was sent to the operation room for kidney harvest on July 26.

Medical staff removed the respirator from the baby after a moment of silence. Her heart then stopped beating.

The baby's harvested kidneys were assigned to two patients in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei province, via the China Organ Transplant Response System.

One kidney was too small to be transplanted to the potential receiver. Another kidney was transplanted to an eight-month-old patient. "The kidney matched the patient well and started to play its role," said surgeon Zhao Yongheng.

China banned transplants of organs from executed prisoners in January 2015, so voluntary donations have been the only source of organs since then.

Data from China Organ Transplant Response System show that since China launched the system in 2010, about 10,000 people have donated vital organs upon their death as of the end of 2016.