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How a pre-term baby remained in hospital for over 8 months and won his battle for life 

It took over 8 months for baby Nethranto battle various medical complications ranging from a hole in the heart to recurrent lung collapses. Photograph:( WION )

WION Chennai Aug 06, 2019, 11.19 PM (IST) Written By: Sidharth MP

Baby Nethran was born in a Chennai hospital on November 9, 2018, as a pre-term baby. He was born in 32 weeks of conception as opposed to the usual 40 weeks and weighed only 1.2kg at birth. 

It took over 8 months for the infant to battle various medical complications ranging from a hole in the heart to recurrent lung collapses, a cancerous tumour in the liver and early fusion of the skull bones before he could go home.  

Soon after birth, the infant was put on ventilator as his lungs were still in the development stage and he was found to have a hole in the heart. Doctors said that his lungs were very delicate and kept collapsing repeatedly. 

He also developed the first sepsis attack which was curtailed with antibiotics. A routine ultrasound revealed an abnormal mass in the liver, which kept enlarging during the course of the treatment. On further investigation, a CT scan showed the possibility of a malignant tumour or a benign vascular mass, which turned out to be a Hepatoblastoma (a rare cancerous tumour) post-biopsy.

“We started chemotherapy, as we aimed to shrink the tumour before the liver surgery. Unfortunately, the congenital hole in the heart was causing additional problems. The blood entering the heart was flowing too much into the lungs through the hole, increasing the pressure to dangerous levels. We had to interrupt the chemotherapy, and the child had to immediately undergo open-heart surgery. Post-surgery, the lungs were still fragile and were continually collapsing. To worsen the situation, the child developed sepsis again, which put the baby in a life-threatening situation.” Said, Dr Latha Kanchi Parthasarathy, Consultant Neonatologist, Apollo Children’s Hospitals.

Doctors added that a month after his cardiac surgery, we removed the right lobe of his liver along with the tumour. It was important that the liver recovered and started functioning normally. Later, he again suffered a third sepsis attack which we cured by antibiotics. Continuous treatments gave us a very positive improvement in the baby’s condition. 

But there was a further setback, his skull started fusing prematurely, causing an abnormal head shape (like a cone) increasing the pressure within his brain. To cure this we performed a cranial surgery.

His last cycle of chemotherapy was completed on 4th of July and ever since there have been positive results and Nethran was discharged.

Speaking on the course of treatment adopted and the medical complications that the infant battled, doctors said, a pre-term birth could happen due to maternal health issues and some infants could have congenital tumours, while some develop it after birth. They added that, cancers in infants and children are curable but the kid must be monitored for at least five years to ensure that he is normal. 
 

Story highlights

It took over 8 months for the infant to battle various medical complications ranging from a hole in the heart to recurrent lung collapses, a cancerous tumour in the liver and early fusion of the skull bones before he could go home.