NEW YORK (CBS) -- A five year old girl from New York is lucky to be alive after a complicated emergency operation. A team of doctors removed some of her organs to get to a cancerous tumor.
Gabrielle DiCarlo is a typical 5-year-old; playing with her sisters and her favorite stuffed animal. Just two months ago doctors told Gabby's parents she needed emergency surgery to save her life. Her mother Nicole says, "We don't know if she's going to make it through the night."
Gabby had a cancerous tumor in her abdomen that was so large it ballooned into her liver and heart, blocking all the blood vessels of her lower body. Dr. Tomoaki Kato with New York Presby/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital says, "The feeling was if you really don't do it in next 24 hours she won't make it."
Dr. Tomoaki Kato led Teams at NY Presbyterian-Columbia who removed the tumor during a very complicated surgery. Surgeons took out Gabby's right kidney, her liver, gall bladder, and appendix. Then, they had to open her chest. Dr. Emile Bacha says, "It was involving the heart and that large vein that connects liver and heart that we had to replace was also something that we don't often do at all."
The surgery lasted 10 and a half hours but doctors only had a small window of opportunity to stop Gabby's heart, remove the tumor and then get the heart beating again.
Gabby lost her kidney gall blader and appendix, but surgeons were able to repair her liver and re-implant it.
Doctors say her cancer is treatable, but Gabby has a long road ahead recovering from surgery and starting chemotherapy.
This is the first reported emergency pediatric surgery of its kind.