New technology helps save little girl's life

June 30, 2011 2:21:14 PM PDT
A child on Long Island is on her way to recovery after a grueling brain surgery due to a rare brain malformation.

Some new technology helped doctors save Katie Melendez.

She was born with a tangle of veins inside her brain called an A.V.M. Nobody knew it. Doctors sometimes refer to it as a ticking time bombs because it can rupture, as it did in little Katie's brain.

In the six weeks since the incident occurred, today marked the first time Katie was out in public.

Laughing one minute, but crying the next, Katie is very emotional about what she survived.

She had a complex brain surgery on May 16. She had woken up in the middle of the night with a sudden severe headache.

The congenital tangle of vessels deep in her brain had burst, but with delicate surgery, the doctors were able to repair it.

Katie's care was helped, they say, by a newly acquired machine. It's a portable, movable CT scanner, which can be moved around from room to room.

"We were able to bring the scanner up to Katie's bedside and get a ct scan to determine our next course of action without transporting her and all of her machinery down to the cat scan unit," Dr. Mark Mittler of LIJ Cohen Children's Medical Center said.

For the surgery, doctors had to remove part of her Katie's skull and, like Representative Gabrielle Giffords, the skull bone was placed inside her abdomen for storage and protection. It was eventually taken out and replaced.

Doctors say Katie has recovered well and will continue to do so. In September, she goes in the third grade.

Her mom and dad were beside her today, emotional and grateful.

"All saved her life and helped me cope because I was falling apart at the seams," Linda Melendez said.

"What do you give somebody who just saved your life? I got Katie, thank you," Anthony Melendez said as he gave his little girl a kiss.