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Woman on Life Support Gives Birth to Baby Girl

From Associated Press

A brain-dead pregnant woman who has been kept on life support 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 the delivery and the baby was “doing well,” Justin Torres wrote in an e-mail to Associated Press.

The baby, Susan Anne Catherine Torres, weighs 1 pound, 13 ounces and is 13 1/2 inches long, he said. The infant was delivered by caesarean section, the hospital said.

Susan Torres, a 26-year-old researcher at the National Institutes of Health, lost consciousness from a stroke in May after aggressive melanoma spread to her brain.

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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.

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.

Her husband has slept by his wife’s side for the last three months.

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Sometime -- perhaps this week -- his wife’s body will be unhooked from the web of machinery that has kept it going and will be allowed to die, an end that Jason Torres, Susan Torres’ family and a team of doctors agreed was inevitable.

Even as the fetus continued to grow during the last several months, the cancer grew as well, spreading to the mother’s lymph nodes, lungs, liver and all other vital organs, relatives said.

A website to 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 was obligated to pay tens of thousands of dollars each week that insurance did not cover.

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The infant is being monitored at the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, about 100 miles north of Richmond and just outside Washington.

“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.

A spokeswoman declined to release further information.

A phone call to Justin Torres was not immediately returned.

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