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Dr. Peter Black (left) and his BWH colleagues saved the eyesight of a patient in her eighth month of pregnancy. Read on to learn more about the teamwork and hope, which led to restoring her full vision and her delivery of a healthy baby boy one month later.
Lori Eggitto with her children
When she was seven months pregnant, doctors at BWH diagnosed Lori Eggitto (pictured below with her children) with a benign meningioma, a brain tumor that was rapidly causing her eyesight to deteriorate to near blindness. Eggitto sought treatment at BWH as her symptoms of dizziness and loss of vision worsened, which she originally attributed to her daily work in front of a computer.
Eggitto described her pregnancy to that point as “good” but said she became horrified as the her symptoms developed and progressed, “I knew something was definitely wrong, but the last thing on my mind was a brain tumor
According to Peter Black, MD, chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, “the good news about meningiomas is that when diagnosed quickly they can often be surgically removed before they do significant permanent damage to the brain.”
After several MRI scans indicated that the tumor was already pressing on her optic nerve and could cause permanent blindness, doctors concluded that they couldn’t wait until after her delivery to operate and that tumor had to be removed immediately.
With a team of obstetricians standing by in the operating room ready to perform an emergency c-section if necessary, BWH neurosurgeons successfully removed Eggitto’s brain tumor in the eighth month of her pregnancy with no complications. A month later, Eggitto gave birth to a healthy baby boy and had regained her eyesight completely.
“This is a perfect example of the cooperative environment that BWH prides itself on,” explains Black. “It took a variety of doctors to diagnose Eggitto’s tumor, a team of surgeons to remove it and support from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology to ensure Eggitto and her son received the best care possible. Without this team effort, complex procedures such as this would be impossible.”
Five years later, Eggitto and her family live a happy and healthy life. After this experience, Eggitto reflects back with gratitude to the team of doctors who saved her family. “I don’t take anything in life for granted anymore, the past five years have been very special to our family because we all know it may not have turned out this way.”
CNN recently interviewed Eggitto and Black about their story for a special report and tribute to Mother’s Day that is scheduled to air this morning (Friday, May 9) and throughout the weekend.