PUERTO PEÑASCO, Mexico – Amanda Rubio, born prematurely with a 2.46-kg (5.4-lb) teratoma – a kind of tumor – attached to her tailbone, is now thriving thanks to a successful surgery.
Born on Jan. 7 in the northwestern Mexican city of Puerto Peñasco, she was initially given only a 20 percent chance of survival.
Her mother, Alba Nidya Ortiz, recalled that she was not able to see Amanda at the time of the delivery, as the baby had to be rushed to a pediatric hospital in Hermosillo, 455.9 kilometers (283.2 miles) away.
“I was very afraid because she looked very small and the volume of the teratoma was very large,” she said of the first encounter with her daughter, which lasted no longer than five minutes.
The teratoma accounted for more than 60 percent of Amanda’s 4.06 kg birth weight, according to hospital records.
Because Amanda was born with “immature lungs,” she had to be stabilized ahead of the surgery, which meant intubating her to make her lungs perform the proper gas exchange to achieve an adequate oxygenation, Dr. Ana Maria Suarez, a specialist in neonatal medicine, told EFE.
The highly complex surgery lasted 2½ hours and was not limited to removing the teratoma.
Physicians also had to perform reconstructive surgery as the teratoma was displacing organs, including the anus and urethra, pediatric oncologist Jose Benjamin Urrea said.
After surgery, Amanda remained in the neonatal ICU for three weeks until doctors removed the stitches and conducted tests to determine if they had gotten all of the tumor.
Ortiz said that seven doctors across different medical specialties – including oncology, plastic surgery and rehabilitation – are currently monitoring Amanda’s development.
“There is very ample proof that God listens to prayers,” Ortiz said. “And he puts the right resources, the right people (in our path) to carry out his will.”