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Long Island Girl, 9, Meets The Doctors Who Saved Her Life

NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y. (CBS 2) -- There was a heartwarming reunion Thursday on Long Island between a family and the medical team that saved a young girl's life.

The 9-year-old had a brain condition that could have killed her, but thankfully her doctors were armed with new technology that kept her alive, reports CBS 2's Don Dahler.

It was a chance to say "thank you" to the people who saved her life, reports CBS 2's Don Dahler.

Katie Melendez, 9, was born with a life-threatening brain condition called an arteriovenous malformation.

Seven weeks ago, she woke up with a severe headache. Over the next few hours, she developed nausea, vomiting, and then lapsed into a coma.

"She was clearly in dire straits," Dr. Mark Mittler said. "She had a CAT Scan at that place showed a large amount of hemorrhage in the center of Katie's brain."

Katie was transferred to Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, where doctors worked to lower the pressure in her head.

"Katies pressure climbed, and we needed to bring her to the operating room and remove a portion of her skull to allow the brain to swell from the hemorrhage," Dr. Mittler said.

Doctors diagnosed Katie using a new portable device called a ceretom. Cohen Children's Medical Center is the only hospital in New York State that has the device.

"We were able to bring the scanner to her bedside in the ICU and get a CT Scan to determine the next course of action, without the risk of transporting Katie and all her machinery down to the CAT Scan unit," Dr. Mittler said. "Katie was the first person to benefit from this technology."

Katie underwent surgery to remove the brain lesion and replace her skull.

"To say this was the most terrifying ordeal of our lives is an understatement," mother Linda Melendez said. "I'm so thankful I was brought to this hospital. These doctors, nurses, social workers, child life specialists, I think, all saved her life."

Katie made a thank you card for her doctors, but felt too shy to read it – so her father read it for her.

"Thank you for fixing my brain. Thank you for using your new machine on me," he read. "I feel great. Now you helped me."

Katie said she dreams of becoming a singer. Doctors said she's well on her way to recovery.

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