Susan Torres Passes Away After Giving Birth to Baby Girl

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 4, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Susan Torres Passes Away After Giving Birth to Baby Girl Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 4, 2005

Arlington, VA ( — After giving birth to a baby girl, Susan Torres was taken off of life support on Wednesday. Her husband and family said their good-byes and a family priest offered a prayer and final sacraments for her. Torres died shortly afterwards.

The 26 year-old woman collapsed in May but gave birth by Caesarean section on Tuesday to the baby girl she always wanted.

“We are thrilled with the baby, but this is a very difficult day,” said Justin Torres, Susan Torres’ brother-in-law, at a news conference at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington.

Justin said that, years from now, he will tell his niece about the courage her mother displayed.

“I’m going to tell her her mother was one of the toughest women I’ve ever met, that she was absolutely determined in what she did. … And that, ‘You cannot believe how many people fought for you,’” he said.

"He’s hanging in," Justin Torres said about his brother in an interview Thursday on CBS News’ The Early Show. "It was a very difficult two days with a lot of ups and downs. But we knew for 12 weeks that yesterday was coming. That’s still not enough time to prepare you. But he’s hanging in. He’s certainly very happy to see this baby."

Susan Anne Catherine Torres was born two months premature and weighed just one pound and 13 ounces and measured 13.5 inches long.

Susan’s husband Justin slept next to his wife in her hospital room for the final three months of her pregnancy and made the final decision to remove her from life support.

Hospital officials says baby Susan is doing well considering her early birth.

Donna Tilden-Archer, medical director of neonatology at the hospital, told the Washington Post, the baby is "very vigorous."

Susan is breathing on her own, receiving supplemental oxygen and pressure to keep her airspace open, Tilden-Archer said. Her heart appears normal and baby Susan is breathing normally.

"She’s a beautiful baby," Tilden-Archer told CBS. "I checked in on her this morning. And she’s breathing on her own. And she’s only requiring a very small amount of oxygen. She was sleeping on her tummy very peacefully, doing quite well."

"She is very small and very premature," Dr. Tilden-Archer added. "We have to make sure that her breathing is stable and that she’s able to breathe on her own. Once she’s able to do that, we can concentrate on her nutrition to help her to grow and gain weight. Then, we’re also very concerned with all premature babies about infection because their immune systems are so very weak. She’s susceptible to anything that could come along. So we’ll be very careful in watching for infection."

The hospital also reports that an initial examination of the placenta shows no signs of the melanoma that ravaged Susan’s body, causing her collapse and death, Christopher McManus, the attending physician, said.

There is no way of knowing if baby Susan will develop the melanoma and babies in similar conditions with an afflicted mother develop the cancerous condition less than 25 percent of the time.

Rodney McLaren, medical director for maternal-fetal medicine at the hospital, told the Post that the decision was eventually made that the risks associated with a premature birth outweighed leaving baby Susan inside her mother because of the fast-spreading cancer.

Related web sites:
Susan Torres Fund —