Orange County

‘No room for error’: Team of 11 Orlando Health doctors perform back-to-back surgeries on mom, baby

ORLANDO, Fla. — Eleven Orlando Health physicians teamed up to perform back-to-back surgeries on a mother and her baby — whom doctors said developed a life-threatening tumor while she was in the womb.

Now, after four months of care in the neonatal intensive care unit, little Zuri Paul is home just in time for Thanksgiving.


“This has been a hard journey, but we’ve been taking it day by day,” her mother Randyiah Paul said. “We didn’t want to rush bringing Zuri home; we knew she would be ready in her own time.”

Officials said Randyiah came to Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital at 29 weeks pregnant after she learned a rare tumor had developed on her unborn baby girl’s heart.

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Doctors said the tumor had grown so rapidly that little Zuri wouldn’t survive unless it was removed.

Physicians prepared two operating rooms at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children for the necessary consecutive surgeries that were required.

“Randyiah was in just the right place to have this procedure, as it’s really quite intricate with no room for error,” said Dr. Cole Greves, maternal-fetal medicine physician and director of complex fetal care at Orlando Health Winnie Palmer.

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First, doctors said the maternal-fetal medicine team performed an in-utero procedure to remove the fluid around the baby’s heart.

Next, doctors performed a cesarean section on Randyiah, and Zuri Paul was born weighing just 3 pounds, 8 ounces.

Upon delivery, doctors said Zuri was stabilized by the awaiting neonatology team and immediately rushed to the adjacent operating room, where another team of specialists removed the tumor.

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“This case represents the depth of expertise between both hospitals, and the ability to seamlessly bring them together and achieve a great outcome,” said Kevin Beers, D.O., a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer. “There were at least seven specialties represented in the planning of this, and a team of 11 physicians and surgeons between two operating rooms on the day of surgery. Each specialty played a critical role in Zuri’s care and survival.”

Hospital officials said Zuri now only requires surveillance moving forward, and is expected to live a happy and normal life.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson,

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.

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