Video: Girl has six vital organs removed

msnbc.com
updated 3/10/2009 12:59:31 PM ET 2009-03-10T16:59:31

A 7-year-old Long Island girl was released from a New York hospital Tuesday, more than a month after surgeons removed six of her vital organs to tackle a life-threatening tumor.

Heather McNamara was doing "fantastic," said her father, Joseph McNamara, as the Islip Terrace family prepared to return home. On Feb. 6, a team lead by Dr. Tomoaki Kato at New York Presbyterian-Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital conducted the first surgery of its kind in a child.

During the 23-hour operation, doctors removed Heather's stomach, pancreas, liver, spleen and small and large intestines to get at a cancerous tumor the size of a baseball, according to news reports. They couldn't save the child's stomach, pancreas or spleen, which were riddled with cancer.

The girl now has a pouch fashioned from intestinal tissue to hold food, doctors told USA Today. Cancer experts said that while it used to be impossible to live without a pancreas, daily injections of insulin and enzyme pills can substitute.

Appearing bright and happy and clutching a teddy bear from hospital officials, Heather said she was looking forward to returning home to play with her sister and her dog, Angel.

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