Doctors Remove Day-Old Baby’s Jumbo Tumour
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22 September 2010
Growth on tongue made it difficult for the boy to breathe, and required a complex operation, done at KEM Hospital. Only 20 such cases have been reported worldwide
On Monday, a delighted Kiran Devikar was busy calling up his relatives to give them the good news. His wife, Harshada had just delivered a baby boy. A gardener by profession, Kiran’s happiness however was short lived. Exactly two hours after the delivery, doctors at the private hospital in Alibaug where Harshada was admitted, informed Kiran about his baby’s deformity – it had an abnormally large tumour attached to its tongue. The tumour, said doctors, was so big, that it was interfering with his breathing and had to be removed immediately in order for the baby to survive.
"I was shocked to see the tumour, and could not understand why in spite of being so big it did not show up in the sonography," says Kiran. "Doctors asked me to take my boy to a bigger hospital as he required an immediate and complex surgery. I rushed to KEM Hospital," he added.
Even while Kiran was running around with the baby, his wife had not been allowed to catch a glimpse of the newborn. "She kept calling me, but I did not say anything about the tumour," recalls Kiran about the stressful time. "She wanted to see him, hold him, feed him but I did not have the courage or the heart to tell her the truth."
According to KEM Dean, Dr Sanjay Oak, when the baby was brought to the hospital, he was suffering from acute respiratory distress due to the tumour. "We had to first stabilise the child and then administer antibiotics," he said, adding, "The tumour was attached to the tip of the tongue and midline alveolar margin and his jaw was divided. There was no chin either."
On Tuesday morning a team of doctors at KEM operated upon the baby. "It was risky performing the complex surgery on a one–day old infant. We had to cut and remove the tumour safely and suture the hanging part," explained Dr Rahul Gupta, Assistant Professor of Paediatric, KEM hospital. The baby is recovering in the ICU now. Harshada is still in the Alibaug nursing home, waiting for her baby who she believes is being treated for fever.
Doctors at the hospital said this was one of the rarest conditions and so far only 20 such cases have been reported.
"We will present this in medical journals as this is the first time our hospital has handled such a case," said Dr Sandesh Paralkar, Head of the Paediatric. Doctors however pointed out that the baby may require cosmetic surgery in future to correct the cleft deformity.
A similar case was reported in Kerala in 1991 when a 21–day old baby girl had a similar tumour, but it was not as big or critical.