Doctors in Shreveport successfully have removed a rare tumor from a 3-year-old Brazilian girl’s face.
Melyssa Delgado Braga had suffered from a myxoma, a usually benign tumor in children yet one that progresses aggressively.
“It was heartbreaking,” Dr. Ghali, who secured housing for Braga’s family and convinced the health system to underwrite the cost of her hospital stay, told PEOPLE. “She couldn’t even hold her head up the tumor was so huge. She could hardly swallow at all and she was beginning to have problems breathing. Her tongue was pushed all the way back to her throat. It was just a matter of time before this thing was going to suffocate her.”
The operation took place late last month, removing the tumor and reconstructing Braga’s jaw, mouth, and tongue.
“All of the procedures were donated, everybody did everything pro bono and the hospital and healthcare system donated their space and equipment, ” Dr. Ghali said. “I looked at it as our Christmas gift to this little girl and her family.”
When Braga’s parents saw her afterwards, they couldn’t contain their joy.
“They were so happy they were crying,” Dr. Ghali continued. “They were very appreciative of what was done for them.”
“I really to thank everybody for what all of you did,” Braga’s father said at a news conference last weel. “We had been waiting for help for such a long time and in one month everything happened.”