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Stanford Surgeons Save Premature Baby; Removing Large Tumor After Doctor Had Recommended Abortion

PALO ALTO (KPIX 5) – A Bay Area baby is alive and expected to live a normal life after doctors initially gave him little chance to survive and even told his mother it would be better to have an abortion.

Angel Gomez now a month old, but he wouldn't be alive today if his mother, Yesenia Torres, had listened to her doctor.

"I was 21 weeks pregnant, And they said it was better to terminate," Torres told KPIX 5.

Torres' doctor said her baby would not survive because a large mass growing in its chest would make breathing impossible. But she refused to accept that.

"I thought I would get a second opinion," Torres said.

Torres came to Stanford's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, where the staff agreed to try to save Angel.

"Given the space-occupying lesion of the tumor, I wouldn't think the baby would be able to survive," said Dr. Jane Chueh, the hospital's director of prenatal diagnosis.

As soon as Angel was delivered in one operating room, he was rushed into another. There, surgeons opened Angel's tiny chest and removed the mass before he ever took his first real breath.

The operation worked and today Angel is happily breathing on his own, but he wouldn't be if his mother hadn't had the courage to question a doctor's decision.

"It is hard. But I said, it can't be possible, you know, doctors also make mistakes," Torres said.

And the doctors here have no problem with that. "At the end of the day, it's a personal decision and it's really a matter of human trust ... Do I feel good about what these people are telling me?" said lead surgeon Dr. Karl Sylvester.

Torres said she didn't give up because she knew her son was a fighter, and in this case, it takes one to know one.

Angel was delivered about six weeks premature and is still learning to take feedings by mouth. Once he can, Angel should be able to go home and live a normal life.

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