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Surgeons remove giant tumor from baby

A nine-DAY-OLD baby girl has had a tumor more than three times the size of her heart removed from her chest at the Shanghai Children's Medical Center. It is the first time a child so young has had such a large tumor removed in Shanghai.

The girl was sent to the hospital on Tuesday after having difficulty breathing and drinking. She was in a critical condition and was sent to the intensive care unit.

Her family, who are from Shanghai, said a small shadow had been detected in the girl's chest when the mother was 39 weeks pregnant but they planned to have the baby treated when she had grown stronger.

However, an ultrasonic check found the tumor had already grown so large it reached from the girl's neck to her chest, pressing on her heart, lungs, esophagus and trachea, which made it difficult for her to breathe.

Xia Lin, a hospital official, said the tumor was much bigger than the girl's heart. "If the heart was the size of a pigeon egg, the tumor was like a goose egg," she said. "She would have died if her parents hadn't brought her to hospital in time."

The operation began at 11am. Doctors opened her chest and found the tumor was stuck to the outer wall of the heart and had engulfed the esophagus and trachea, plus the arteries and veins in her neck.

"We had to peel off the tumor very carefully to avoid damaging the blood vessels," said Liu Jinfen, the chief surgeon.

By 1pm, surgeons had saved the girl's life. The father was told and called the girl's mother, who was at home recovering from her caesarean operation.

The father told hospital officials his wife had sent him a short message when the doctors said the girl was in critical condition. "My wife said she wanted me to take our daughter back home and let the baby die in her arms if doctors could do nothing to save her," the father said.


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