PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A special holiday gift for a prominent Philadelphia brain surgeon. He was reunited with a little girl 10 years after he saved her life.
There was a big hug from the doctor, the brain surgeon who saved Lexi Tirpak’s life days after she was born with abnormal blood vessels in her brain.
“It was awful because we had no idea,” said Lexi’s dad, Matt Tirpak.
Lexi’s parents were told she needed emergency surgery and that Dr. Robert Rosenwasser at Jefferson Hospital was the best for the risky operation.
“It’s a very delicate, complicated and dangerous procedure on an infant,” explained. Dr. Rosenwasser.
Matt remembers what they were told: “They were like it’s 50-50 on the surgery and not only 50- 50 but it’s another 10 to 15 percent she might lose a limb.”
With a catheter and guided imaging, Dr. Rosenwasser and his team repaired the blood vessels.
“I’ll always remember the doctor saying I will take care of her as if she is mine,” recalled Lexi’s mom, Alanna Matthai. “It was very helpful to hear that from the surgeon.”
The operation was a success.
Years later when Lexi heard about it, she always wanted to meet the surgeon.
She wrote him a letter.
Dr. Rosenwasser read the first line: “Dear Dr. Rosenwasser, thank you for saving my life on Sept. 22 2006, today I’m 10 and in 4th grade.”
“I never really met him and I wanted to see him,” Lexi explained.
“I said ‘sure I’d love to meet her,’” said Dr. Rosenwasser.
The reunion however, was a surprise for Lexi.
“You know you feel pretty good that you really made a difference in someone’s life and you know to see her 10 years later, a beautiful young lady, yeah I felt pretty good, said Dr. Rosenwasser.
And from the little girl whose life started out in peril, she thinks maybe that brain surgery did more than just save her life.
“Well, I’m smart, maybe smarter,” Lexi said.
Dr. Rosenwasser said to Lexi, “I will tell you, you coming today is the best Christmas present we could have here at Jefferson.”
Lexi says when she grows up she wants to be a singer like her idol Taylor Swift or a school teacher.