NEW DELHI, India (CNN) – Indian government doctors Thursday eased the protruding heart of a 10-day-old baby boy back into his body in what they called a three-and-a-half-hours critical but successful surgery.
A.K. Bisoi, cardiothoracic surgeon at New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences, told CNN that his 13-member team did not stop the child’s heartbeat as they performed the operation.
The dangling organ has been successfully placed in a home surgically created between the chest and the abdomen, he said.
“The baby is stable. He may not require any other surgery,” Bisoi said.
Nonetheless, the doctors will keep him under observation and will not commit on when he can be discharged.
Bisoi explained that surgeons had to displace organs like the lungs and the liver as they created a space for the heart.
“We will have to keep a watch on how those organs respond,” he said.
The baby was born on August 25 in a remote village in India’s eastern state of Bihar along the border with Nepal.
He was admitted to the hospital the next day with acute dehydration and infection that doctors say he probably caught during a 1,100 kilometer (683 mile) journey in a rickety train compartment.
Specialists then replaced the baby’s infected blood and covered his heart with a synthetic membrane.
Bisoi described the case — called ectopia cordis, which only affects five to eight cases in one million live births — as a “lifetime opportunity” that might shed light on how to deal with similar conditions in the future.
“You are daring to correct a defect of Mother Nature,” he told CNN a day ahead of the surgery.
All India Institute of Medical Sciences, a state-run hospital, carried out the operation free of cost.
The child’s 24-year-old father, Chander Majhi, is a laborer in Bihar, one of India’s most impoverished state.
He said he felt indebted to the doctor in his home state as well as the hospital specialists. The Bihar doctor had not only referred the baby to the hospital but financed the trip.