Neck operation before cord is cut saves baby
Saturday 18 September 1999
The operation, believed to be a first in Britain, was carried out during delivery, while the baby was half-in and half-out of the womb.
The baby, called Jaydon, was delivered by Caesarean section two weeks ago at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle upon Tyne. He had a blocked windpipe, and surgeons had to perform a tracheostomy - inserting a tube into the windpipe - to enable him to breathe, before cutting the umbilical cord.
Surgery has been carried out before on foetuses inside the womb during pregnancy, but not during delivery. If the cord had been cut and the baby had been completely removed from the womb before the operation was performed, he would have suffocated.
Professor Steven Robson, a consultant in foetal medicine, said that a team of surgeons and anaesthetists had to be assembled rapidly when the baby's mother, Joanne Vasey, went into labour eight weeks early. Scans taken earlier in the pregnancy had revealed lung abnormalities that suggested a blockage in the windpipe.
Professor Robson said: "It was certainly fun and games for a while trying to put the team together in a few hours. The procedure itself was not particularly difficult. The remarkable bit was in making the diagnosis before the birth, which allowed us to be ready."
The operation began with the mother's abdomen and womb being opened to reach the baby, as in any Caesarean. The baby's head and chest and one arm were lifted out, and doctors checked to see that his windpipe was indeed blocked.
While the baby was still attached to the umbilical cord, the surgeons performed the tracheostomy. They then cut the cord and completed the delivery. The operation lasted 45 minutes.
Jaydon weighed 2lb 13oz at birth and is expected to remain in hospital for three months.
Ms Vasey, a business management student aged 17, told a newspaper: "For a time we had thought that he might die before the birth or we might lose him during the delivery. I can hardly believe that he has come through it all. He's still got a long way to go, but he's a star."
Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
Bali nine: Welcome to 'Execution Island' – the Indonesian holiday resort where foreigners are sent to die
How Homer Simpson discovered the Higgs boson over a decade before scientists
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Harrison Ford plane crash: Star Wars actor 'seriously injured' after light aircraft crash lands
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
£50000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of global logisti...
£35000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Manager (Vice President...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Marketing Executive i...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...