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Baby Born With Cyst On Lung Saved With Rare Surgery

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STANFORD, Calif.- The birth of a baby is often called the miracle of life, but that doesn't begin to describe 8-month-old Elijah Alvarez.

For one California couple that miracle was helped along by a special surgery.

Last July, when Elizabeth Rodriguez-Garcia of Salinas was 6-months pregnant, she went for a routine ultrasound.

The ultrasound revealed a large cyst on the lung of the fetus. Doctors say at first they weren't sure the baby would survive. The parents say hearing those words were the hardest part.

"At that very moment, when they told us that we just both broke down in tears," said the father, Salvador Alvarez.

The family went to Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford.

For the first time there, doctors inserted a shunt through the mother and into the tiny lung of the fetus.

"It was definitely one of our more challenging cases, absolutely," said Dr. Jane Chueh.

Then, three months later, the moment Elijah was born, doctors rushed him into surgery. They removed the cyst along with most of his left lung.

"This one was larger than most. And it was already causing problems to Elijah in that it was Already compressing the heart and the lungs," said Dr. Karl Sylvester.

Without that surgery, Elijah's heart would have likely stopped beating.

Fast forward 8 months later, Baby Elijah is the picture of health.

"I like hearing when people that we don't know come up to us and say your baby is so healthy. I say oh, my God, they don't know what we've been through," said Elijah's mother Elizabeth.

Little Elijah may have gotten off to a desperate and dire start, but doctors say the rest of the way should be smooth strolling.

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