News and Events

Rare and Complex Surgery Saves Life of Two-day-old Preterm Baby

Publication Date: 10/1/2020 10:30 AM

Adi and Avia Bernstein, both residents of Acre, were waiting for the happy moment when their twins would be born. Nothing prepared them for the emotional and medical upheaval they experienced in the last trimester of pregnancy.

Adi Bernstein with his newborn son. Photography: Rambam HCCAdi Bernstein with his newborn son. Photography: Rambam HCC

One of Adi and Avia Bernstein’s twin babies was born with a tumor on his lung. The doctors at Rambam Health Care Campus had never seen anything like it, and performed a complex operation that ultimately saved the life of the two-day-old baby boy. "I just thought about how much I wanted to hear him cry," his mother said. "As soon as I heard that sound, I calmed down."

"It all started when we did our second level-2 ultrasound in the 23rd week," Adi shared. "Professor Zeev Weiner suddenly saw that one of the fetuses was presenting unusual data. After checking several times and consulting with other specialists, we were told that the leading twin had developed a rare lung complication that could cause breathing difficulties when he was born."

The defect that was discovered turned out to be a benign, very large tumor that had developed in the unborn baby’s lung. The rare tumor – both in how it developed and its unusual size – could not be addressed before the baby was born. Under normal circumstances, it could have been treated with surgery at the age of six months or later. "This is the largest tumor of its kind that either I or my colleagues have ever seen," explained Professor Zeev Weiner, Director of the Division of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Rambam.

The birthing process ended in a complex caesarean section. Although the twin with the lung tumor cried as he exited the uterus, his medical condition required respiratory support. After being stabilized in the delivery room, he was transferred to Rambam’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for further care.

"The fact that this was a two-day-old preemie weighing two kilograms, with tiny blood vessels only a few millimeters in diameter, made the procedure extremely complex and delicate," explained Dr. Michael Orlovsky, Acting Director of the Department of Thoracic Surgery, who led the rare operation. "Surgeries are almost never performed at these ages because of the level of complexity. We are happy to announce that the operation was successful and the tiny patient's condition is improving daily. We expect him to develop like a normal child and live a completely healthy life."