Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum was forced to briefly abandon his presidential campaign this past weekend to care for his 3-year-old daughter, Bella. The toddler suffers from a rare genetic disorder called Trisomy 18, which is caused by a repeat of all or part of the 18th chromosome and was hospitalized on Saturday with pneumonia.

“Rick and his wife Karen are admitting their daughter Bella to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia this evening,” spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement Saturday night, adding “Rick intends to return to Florida and resume the campaign schedule as soon as is possible.” Santorum missed an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press and an event in Miami to stay with daughter Bella.

Rick Santorum’s daughter, Bella, was hospitalized on Saturday night with pneumonia. Children with Trisomy 18 are susceptable to pneumonia because almost all of them have congenital heart disease, which causes fluid to build up and can put the the lungs in danger of infection. By Monday, the 3-year-old was doing much better, according to her father. Now that Bella Santorum’s health is improving, Rick Santorum will be returning to the campaign trail while his daughter continues to recover in the hospital.

Children with Trisomy 18 disorder, also known as Edwards syndrome, can suffer from a wide variety of medical problems, including heart defects, breathing difficulties, abnormalities of the brain and other internal organs. About ninety percent of children born with the disorder die within the first year. The majority of those who survive past infancy have severe developmental problems. Very children with Trisomy 18 live to reach their teenage years.

Bella Santorum reportedly spent a rough 36 hours battling pneumonia, but is now doing better, her father said in a phone call to Florida supporters from his daughter’s hostpial room. “She without a doubt has turned the corner,” Rick Santorum said.

The Republican presidential candidate is expected to return to the campaign trail on Monday afternoon as his daughter continues to recover in the hospital. He will not be returning to Florida, where he currently trails in third place beyind Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Instead, Rick Santorum will move on to St. Louis before heading off to Minnesota, Colorado and Nevada.



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