A group of doctors finally rescued a 6-year-old girl from a huge, life-threatening facial tumor. The tumor on the chin of Nagalem Alafa from Ethiopia at birth has been growing for many years. It got so big that his doctor was concerned that if it got bigger it would cut off his ability to speak, swallow and breathe.
Experts are concerned that any small impact or abrasion will rupture the tumor and cause Nagalem to bleed. The quality is too dangerous, too dangerous and too dangerous to eliminate … or so they think. Last year, when a U.S. government official encountered Nagalem on a mission trip, they began searching for doctors around the world who might try to remove the tumor!
Eventually, a surgical team at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City agreed to take on the challenge for free. “I became a doctor to help people,” said Dr. Milton Waner, one of the surgeons who worked on Nagalem. “Clearly, we help people every day, but this was on such a grand scale.”In 2021, the day Nagalem and her family had been waiting for finally arrived.
She and her dad, Matios Alafa Haile, traveled to New York for the 12-hour surgery that would save her life. According to Waner, “On a scale of one to 10, this is a 12.” It’s very, very difficult and complicated. In fact, one of the most complicated procedures we’ve done,” he continued. During the procedure,
the team carefully cut around nerves and arteries to remove about 1 pound of the mass from the child’s jaw. Nicking even one of these vessels could have resulted in paralysis, severe blood loss, or even death. Thankfully, the surgery went smoothly and they were able to reconstruct her jaw. Nagalem will stay in New York City for a few months for some smaller reconstructive surgeries,
and her swelling will continue to shrink with time. The little girl and her father are relieved and grateful for the doctors who helped them. “I was crying before but now I’m smiling so thanks to God,” Matios said. “She is different after surgery. She is playing enjoying everything outdoors. There is a big difference. May God bless the doctors, without them this wouldn’t be like this.
”We are so lucky to live in an age where there is help for people like Nagalem. These talented surgeons just changed this child’s life forever. Maybe she’ll grow up to be a doctor herself someday!