Peruvian boy has successful brain surgery

Doctors remove three tumors
January 2, 2008 3:21:49 PM PST
It is a healthy start to the new year for a Peruvian boy who came to the United States seeking a life-saving operation. Last week, the 5-year-old underwent brain surgery to remove a peach-sized tumor. Today came the good news.

Eyewitness News reporter Tim Fleischer has the story from New Hyde Park.

It is an encouraging story. Little Sebastian Pina's very dangerous, yet life-saving surgery is being called a Christmas miracle by his family. Less than one week after undergoing the procedure, Pena is happy and laughing again.

He is, however, still in store for a long recovery.

The Pina family traveled from Peru to Schneider Children's Hospital for the surgery, which took three hours to perform.

"We were able to take down Sebastian's front part of the scalp, remove the tumor and reconstruct the area surrounding the eye on the right side," pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Mark Mittler said. "He had two additional tumors, one over the left eye and one toward the middle and the top of his head. And all of those were removed."

"We know that it's not going to be easy," Sebastian's mother, Wendy Pina, said. "We know that Sebastian is going to be strong and he is going to need our strength."

Sebastian's family is encouraged by his progress. He received a toy from Congressman Steve Israel, who intervened on the family's behalf to help the boy travel from Peru.

But Sebastian is not out of the woods yet, as he faces a very long recovery and aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatment. He is expected to stay in the U.S. for six months to a year.