Sam and Dave Drinnon of Pittsburgh, Ohio were 26 weeks pregnant with a boy, Rylan, when he was diagnosed with a tumor on his heart. But doctors at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio saw a human being worth saving and invested more than three hours into a surgery to correct the otherwise fatal condition.
Dr. Darrell Cass, director of fetal surgery at Cleveland Clinic, explains they opened the mother's tummy and lifted her womb out of her.
"Then we opened the center of his chest," he continues. "We spread his rib cage apart. We opened the pericardial sac, which is the sac that contains the heart. This tumor was huge. It was the same size as his whole heart, actually."
Dr. Cass's team successfully removed the tumor, allowing blood to flow in the part of the heart that had been restricted.
"By removing this tumor, we felt that Rylan would have a very good chance of having a very good outcome, and that's exactly what's happened," the surgeon reports. "He recovered fully. He was born just over 10 weeks later. Little Rylan is over five months old now, and he's a normal little boy."
The surgery is only the second known successful operation in the world on a child in the womb with Rylan's condition. Dr. Cass gives credit to the medical team for giving the Drinnons hope and Rylan a chance for a healthy life.