The Washington PostThe Washington Post

A fetus had a 1% chance at life. A historic surgery in womb saved it

By Kyle Melnick

14 May 2023 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

A rare pre-birth condition meant that a baby had a 1% chance of survival. The Post reports on a mother's journey to save her unborn child.

Kenyatta Coleman walked into her doctor's office in February excited for her ultrasound. For 30 weeks, Coleman's unborn child had developed normally. She decided to name her Denver and celebrate with a shower the next month.

But all of Coleman's plans changed that day. The ultrasound showed the fetus had brain abnormalities and an enlarged heart. Doctors in Baton Rouge diagnosed the unborn baby with a vein of Galen malformation, a rare pre-birth condition, and a 1 percent chance of survival.

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