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Surgical specialists save tiny day-old baby’s life

Date Posted: 2005-04-19

Fuuka Yamashiro.

A typical name for a baby born in an Okinawa hospital. In this case though, it was a child born to severe trouble. She was two hours old on March 8th when things started going bad.

Her breathing became fast, face and lips began turning darker and darker, and she was rushed to the Prefecture’s Naha Hospital where doctors found a problem with her lung vein, which should have connected to the heart, but did not. They knew if they didn’t fix it fast, the baby would die.

An emergency meeting with lung, heart and special doctors led to a fast trip to the operating room, where only five hours after her birth, she underwent the surgeon’s scapel. The baby was tiny, adding to doctors’ concern. They say her heart was only the size of a doctor’s finger, and she weighed only 2,600 grams, about 5 pounds, 11 ounces.

Every step the doctors took was in milli-units, from anesthetics to medical techniques. She needed an artificial heart to keep her baby body alive during the surgery, which “was a very meticulous skill required.”

Baby Fuuka Yamashiro survived that March morning, and is now out of the hospital and home with her parents in Itoman. “We’re happy to hug her again, day by day,” says one parent. “We want to see her body grow, with all the tubes being removed one by one.” It was a happy time for hospital staff too.

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