Baby Born to Brain-Dead Mom Dies
Susan Anne Catherine Torres, who was born after her mother had been on life support for three months, died of heart failure after emergency surgery to repair a perforated intestine at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, the Associated Press reports.
"After the efforts of this summer to bring her into the world, this is obviously a devastating loss for the Torres and Rollin families," Justin Torres, the woman's brother-in-law, said in an emailed statement. "We wish to thank all the people who sustained us in prayer over the past 17 weeks."
The baby's mother was Susan Rollin Torres, a 26-year-old researcher at the National Institutes of Health who suffered a stroke in May after melanoma spread to her brain. She was kept alive so she could deliver the child.
The baby's father, Jason Torres, quit his job as an Arlington, Va., printing salesman and spent the next 12 weeks at his wife's side waiting for the birth of their child.
The pregnancy became a race between the fetus's development and the cancer. On Aug. 2 doctors, concerned that Susan's weakened condition would endanger the child, performed a C-section.
"You want to be happy at the birth of a child, and it was such a relief," Justin Torres told PEOPLE at the time. "But there was also a foreboding because we knew what was coming next."
The next day Jason held his wife's hand as her respirator was disconnected. "Nothing can prepare you for it," he told PEOPLE. "To go from one room and be overjoyed by life into another room where you're weighed down by the goodbye."
The baby was about two months premature and weighed 1 lb. 13 oz., but doctors said they saw no signs that her mother's cancer had crossed the placenta.
There was no immediate indication why the baby's health deteriorated over the weekend.
A Web site was set up to help raise money for the family's mounting medical bills (www.susantorresfund.org), and people from around the world sent in more than $600,000 as of last month.