Wednesday, September 22, 1999 Published at 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK
Surgeons operate on baby during birth
The tumour was blocking Joshua's windpipe
Doctors have have performed a remarkable operation to remove a tumour from the body of an baby while it was being born.
The operation was planned after doctors discovered a large tumour on the neck of Rachel Snider's unborn child during a routine scan.
The growth was already as big as an orange and was blocking the baby's windpipe.
Doctors decided the only way they could clear the blockage was while the child was actually being born.
So they carried out a remarkable operation with the baby's head and neck outside the womb but with the rest of his body still inside.
That meant he could receive oxygen from his mother's placenta until he could breathe on his own.
More work needed
The baby - who has been named Joshua - is making good progress but he will still have to undergo reconstructive surgery and hormone treatment because his thyroid gland was also removed.
"If the diagnosis had not been made with the routine ultrasound scan then the child would have definitely died - it is very valuable to have these checks.
"The mother wanted us to try anything we could to help the baby and at first we did discuss a termination.
"The pioneering aspect of the operation that was new was the way we supplied the oxygen through the placenta. This is done very rarely and, I believe, for the first time in this country.
"It was so wonderful and exciting to see the baby half-delivered and pink, with his oxygen level never falling, though he couldn't breathe.
The operation took place four weeks ago, but news of it only emerged on Wednesday.
The announcement came just a week after a similar procedure was used to unblock the windpipe of a premature baby in Newcastle.
Doctors at Newcastle-upon-Tyne's Royal Victoria Infirmary kept baby Jaydon Vasey in suspended labour while the emergency operation was carried out.