Brain-Dead Woman in Va. Gives Birth
RICHMOND, Va. - A brain-dead pregnant woman who has been kept on life support for nearly three months to give her fetus more time to develop gave birth to a baby girl Tuesday, the woman's brother-in-law said.
There were no complications during delivery and the baby "is doing well," Justin Torres wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press. The baby, Susan Anne Catherine Torres, weighs one pound 13 ounces and is 13 1/2 inches long, he said. The infant was delivered via caesarean section, the hospital said.
Susan Torres, a 26-year-old researcher at the National Institutes of Health, lost consciousness from a stroke May 7 after aggressive melanoma spread to her brain. Her husband, Jason Torres, said doctors told him his wife's brain functions had stopped.
Jason Torres quit his job to be by his wife's side, and last month her fetus passed the 24th week of development — the earliest point at which doctors felt the baby would have a reasonable chance to survive, the brother-in-law said.
A Web site to help raise money for the family's mounting medical bills had received about $400,000 in donations from around the world as of two weeks ago, Justin Torres said. The family said it must pay tens of thousands of dollars each week that insurance does not cover.
Torres was about seven months' pregnant when the child was delivered. Doctors had hoped to hold off on delivering the child until 32 weeks' gestation. A full-term pregnancy is about 40 weeks.
The infant is being monitored in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, about 100 miles north of Richmond.
"The entire staff and administration of Virginia Hospital Center, especially the physicians and nurses caring for Susan Torres and Baby Girl Torres, are delighted with the successful delivery," the hospital said in a statement.
A spokeswoman declined to release any additional information, including Susan Torres' condition and whether or not her life support was still in place.
A telephone message left for the brother-in-law was not immediately returned.
Since 1979, there have been at least a dozen similar cases published in English medical literature, said Dr. Winston Campbell, director of maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Connecticut Health Center, which conducted research on the topic.