The 1.2kg infant underwent heart, brain and liver surgeries
During one of the pregnancy scans, doctors had told Gayathri, mother, that her son had a hole in his heart but encouraged her to go ahead with the pregnancy. A hole in the heart normally closes on its own or requires a surgical closure in the first year. When she was eight months into her term, she developed distress and doctors had to do an emergency C-section to save the mother and the child. The boy was put on a ventilator as soon as he was born. Doctors thought he could be weaned off in two days. But his lungs were so under-developed that they could not breathe on their own. During the third week, he developed sepsis infection and had to be pumped in with high doses of antibiotics. During one of his regular scans, doctor saw marks in his liver.

"We thought it was due to the infection. After a couple of doses, the liver looked clear," Dr Parthasarathy said. But in the sixth week, a repeat ultrasound and CT scans showed a huge tumour. A liver biopsy confirmed hepatoblastoma, a rare tumour.

By this time, the doctors were scared to even break the news to his parents. "It was almost six weeks and we had nothing positive to tell his parents. On many occasions, we were almost sure we were losing him," Dr Parthasarthy said. But the paediatric surgeon advised shrinking of the tumour with chemotherapy before the surgery. After two rounds of chemotherapy, Nethran developed discomfort because of the hole in the heart. An emergency open-heart surgery was done, but before he could recover, he again suffered sepsis. Just as doctors were treating him for sepsis, They found his skull was fusing prematurely, making his head look like a cone. "This increased pressure within his brain. And a brain surgery became inevitable," she said. Days after the neurosurgeons did the cranial surgery, the surgical oncologist took the baby for liver surgery. "The tumour was so huge that the doctors had to remove an entire lobe," she said. It was after this that the doctors finally began giving the family the good news.

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Such unforeseen events in the face of the fact that the neonate is premature and very-low-birth-weight must' ve rattled even the most experienced of the doctors. To save such a neonate even for a day is a feat in itself. It' s truly great!
Aug 8, 2019Like1