Health Watch: Right diagnosis in early stages helps make life-long difference

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Pulice family couldn't believe their luck.

"I'll never forget, we were so thrilled to find out we were having a little girl," says Shalayna Pulice. "We had a little boy at home, and we were hoping for a little girl."

But elation turned to fear after one ultrasound showed a lesion on baby Evelyn's left lung.

"It's terrifying," Pulice said. "You very much take for granted that your child's going to be healthy."

Their first doctor said Evelyn would be rushed into surgery as soon as she was born and would have a large incision down her back. Something didn't feel right so, Shalayna went online and found Dr. Darrell Cass.

Cass leads a team of fetal surgery specialists.

"A comprehensive fetal treatment program is a collaboration of lots of different specialists that come to the table," Cass said. "There's the obstetricians and the maternal fetal medicine doctors."

A fetal MRI gave doctors a better diagnosis and plan.

"Evelyn had a specific type of lung malformation we commonly call extra lobar bronchopulmonary sequestration," Cass said.

The Pulice's brought Evelyn home right away, and three months later, they went back for surgeons to remove her lesion without any large incision.

"She's experienced no problems, no side effects," Pulice said.

Shalayna urges other parents not to accept an initial diagnosis automatically.

"We were so grateful to find someone who made us feel so comfortable," Pulice said.
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