New York City Doctors Remove 5-Year-Old Ethiopian Girl’s Massive Tumor Pro Bono

Nagalem Alafa lives in a small village in Ethiopia with no access to advanced medical care. If the tumor wasn't removed, she would have died.

Five-year-old Nagalem Alafa just received the surgery of a lifetime at New York City’s Lenox Hill Hospital.

The young child from Ethiopia has been carrying around a massive tumor on her neck, making it hard for her to breathe and swallow. 

The benign growth, comprised of a tangled web of blood vessels called a vascular malformation, started developing right after she was born.

Nagalem lives in a small village with no access to advanced medical care. If the tumor wasn't removed, she’d die one of two ways: suffocation or starvation.

A U.S. government official happened to meet Nagalem while on a mission to Ethiopia last year. He took her under his wing and began searching for a surgeon who would perform the surgery. 

It took him the whole year to scour the Earth and find the doctors who would agree to do the procedure. 

They happened to be Dr. Teresa O and Dr. Milton Waner, who agreed to do it for free. The hospital and its operator, Northwell Health, took care of the cost.

Dr. O and Dr. Waner, who are married, are one of the few surgical teams in the world that specialize in this area. And after 12 hours under the knife, they were successful.

Nagalem, whose name means bright future, certainly has one ahead of her. 

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