Tumor Trapped Twins in Mother’s Womb

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Paul Schankman, KTVI, Reporting

(KTVI) – When Elizabeth Clark had a normal ultrasound done last fall, the results were anything but normal.  She knew she was expecting twins, but her doctor noticed something no one was expecting; what appeared to be an abnormal growth on one of the fetuses.

An MRI later revealed it was a tumor on his neck, and it was growing fast.

So she and her husband left their home in Dexter, Missouri and put their fate in the hands of the doctors at Cardinal Glennon’s Fetal Care Institute inSt. Louis.

“There was no way out for both of them because this tumor was going to block the pathway to life,” said Dr. Ed Yang, Fetal Care Institute Director.

Carson Clark and his brother Kellen were successfully delivered through what’s known as an EXIT procedure, done when a traditionalC-sectioncould be dangerous.

“The problem with a C-sectionis that you could get Kellen out, the normal baby, quickly and he would likely start crying and breathe normally but Carson because of his anatomy,  because of the tumor, there was no guarantee he would be able to breathe.  In fact it was likely he wouldn`t,” Yang said.

By doing the EXIT procedure instead, doctor’s made an incision in the uterus, and exposed Carson’s head and neck while he was still receiving oxygen from his mother.

That gave them the chance to examine the tumor and carefully insert a breathing tube to make up for the damage done to his airway.

Once that was finished, he was delivered the rest of the way, followed by his brother.

That was on November 8th.

Carson has been in Cardinal Glennon’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit ever since.

“I think I cried and I gave Dr. Yang a hug because we are so appreciative of everything they did for him, they really gave him a chance at life again,” said Elizabeth Clark, mother of the twins.

But getting out of the womb did not mean Carson was out of the woods.

“The tumor was sucking the blood out of him and his heart could not keep up with that, his heart was starting to fail,” Yang said.

So three days after his birth, Carson was back in surgery to have the tumor removed.

The delicate operation was a success.

The tumor weighed two pounds.

Three months later, Carson is still getting assistance breathing, but it’s only temporary.

And while doctor’s think he may be left with some damage to his voice, he should be able to lead a normal life.

“I think it will be neat to see how they grow up and Carson, there might be things that, he might be a little bit different about him so he will have a buddy to stick up for him all along the way,” said his mother.

EXIT procedures are rare, in fact, this is the first time Cardinal Glennon has ever done one with twins.

It is also a little controversial because choosing to have an EXIT procedure can be risky for the normal baby, as well as the baby with the tumor, as opposed to a C-section where the normal baby faces very little risk.

But the Clark’s said from the beginning, they were determined to leave the hospital with two healthy babies,  and next Tuesday, they will.