Susan Anne Catherine Torres, whose mother was declared brain-dead and kept on life-support for three months so she could be born, died early yesterday. She was 5 weeks and 5 days old.
The baby contracted a disease that can afflict premature infants, which led to an infection and a perforated intestine that finally overwhelmed her tiny body, according to hospital officials and the baby’s uncle, Justin Torres, whose only public words yesterday were the ones he wrote.
“After the efforts of this summer to bring her into the world, this is obviously a devastating loss,” he said in a statement.
“It was our fondest wish that we could have been able to share Susan’s homecoming with the world,” he wrote.
The long and sad medical odyssey that captivated thousands of strangers began in May, when the child’s mother and namesake, Susan Rollin Torres of Arlington, was stricken with a cancerous brain tumor. She was 15 weeks pregnant at the time, and although doctors at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington gave her no chance of survival, her husband, Jason, and her parents agreed to try to keep her body alive with ventilators and machines so her baby might survive.
Despite the longest of odds, the baby was born by Caesarean section Aug. 2, about two months premature. Her mother, a 26-year-old researcher at the National Institutes of Health, was taken off the machines and died the next day.