HOUSTON - Just hours after being released to his family, 10-month-old Nick Torres passed away at his home on Tuesday.
Baby Nick was at the center of a tense legal battle between his family and Texas Children's Hospital, where he had been on a ventilator since September 26.
Dr. Joseph Varon, Chief Medical Officer for United Memorial Medical Center, confirmed on Tuesday evening that the boy's heartbeat slowed until it stopped roughly two hours after Nick returned home.
Over the weekend, the family's attorney Kevin Acevedo said he received a letter Friday night around 10 p.m. from Harris County Medical Examiner authorizing the move.
The baby was declared brain dead two weeks ago.
“There was no blood flow to the brain and that means he was brain dead,’ said Dr. Varon. “In the state of Texas, that means you are dead."
According to court documents, the boy was found unconscious in a bathroom tub, laying in water and unresponsive on or around September 24.
The order stated baby Nick was taken to Texas Children’s Hospital in the Woodlands, where he was placed in the intensive care unit. He was then transferred to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.
Hospital and medical staff told the family nothing could be done to save baby Nick and they must disconnect him from any and all life support systems.
A court battle followed.
On Friday, a three-judge panel denied the family's request to keep the boy on a ventilator due to insufficient evidence.
The appeals court sided with Texas Children's Hospital, saying there was "no error" in Judge Donna Roth's ruling last week.
On Tuesday, the family got to bring their baby home.
“The timing of this is what calls my attention, and to be honest with you, it would appear that the baby waited until he got home so that he could move on,” said Varon.
Varon says he got involved in the case because Baby Nick's family was begging for time.
“When I saw that the heart rate was starting to slow down, I brought in the family,” Varon said. “It was emotional.”