On Thursday and Friday, some of us (including yours truly) were speculating over whether or not Senator Rick Santorum would be remaining in the hunt for the nomination when news broke that he was returning to Pennsylvania from the campaign trail in Florida. Now it’s very likely that the news was somewhat different and far more disconcerting. Reports are coming in that the Santorums’ youngest daughter, Bella, has been hospitalized.

Rick Santorum’s 3-year old daughter has been hospitalized in Philadelphia, his campaign said Saturday.

“Rick and his wife Karen are admitting their daughter Bella to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia this evening,” Santorum spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement.

The reason for the hospitalization was not provided.

Santorum’s Saturday morning campaign schedule has been canceled, but Gidley said the former Pennsylvania senator intends to return to the campaign trail as soon as possible.

While I knew that their youngest girl was a special needs child, I had not previously heard that she had been diagnosed with Trisomy 18, a malady which apparently causes those afflicted with it to be born with an extra copy of their 18th chromosome. (I’d never even heard of this condition before this weekend.) According to the A.D.A.M Medical Encyclopedia, this is a very serious condition with an extensive list of possible developmental complications, and the prognosis is not promising:

Half of infants with this condition do not survive beyond the first week of life. Some children have survived to the teenage years, but with serious medical and developmental problems.

Take a moment on this Sunday to send your thoughts and prayers for the Santorum family as they deal with this situation in the midst of a hectic presidential campaign. As of this morning, CNN is reporting that the Senator has cancelled all of his Florida events again today and will stay with his family.