Surgery to remove ‘intestine mass’ is a routine operation, but not when the patient is a one-year-old, and you also discover a one-kg tumour clinging to his liver. But doctors of the Paediatric Surgery department of the King George's Medical University (KGMU) showed some rare skills and saved the life of one-year-old Anshu by removing the tumour from her liver.
The doctors had no idea about it. It was only when they opened her stomach, they found the one-kilogram tumour clinging to the liver. A spontaneous decision was taken to remove it, thus the first of its kind surgery in the country was performed.
"Liver-resection on a one-year-old child has never been performed before in the country. Success in the operation has given us the courage to treat more children who face death because of tumour in vital organs," said Dr Ashish Whakhlu, who led the team of surgeons.
The operation was unique for two reasons. The doctor's decision to operate on the child for extra mass in the intestine was changed into liver resection surgery. The decision extended the operation time from 40-minutes to three-and-half hours, which was a challenge also for the anaesthesiologist Dr Monica Kohli.
Secondly, the operation started only with surgeons from paediatric surgery department but Dr Sanjeev Mishra from Surgical Oncology joined mid-way of the operation, when the tumour was discovered.
The decision to change the track of surgery, doctors say, was taken after considering the poor economic status of the family. "Such a situation demands a doctors to close the body and go for fresh investigation before deciding to change the track of surgery," said Dr Whakhlu.
Since the family belonged to the poor economic strata, doctors decided that very moment to go ahead with the surgery, thus saving the family the expense on further investigation and extra days of hospital stay.
"It was a tough and bold decision. The family believed in us but we knew we were doing something pioneering," said Dr Whakhlu.
But all this was not possible until Dr Mishra gave his nod. He is an expert in surgical oncology and has experience of handling tumour cases in adult patients. For this child, he too had to think twice.
Doctors have removed 70 per cent of the liver where the tumour was (on the right side) and now they hope the organ would grow on its own and take a complete shape.