This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, May 21, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.
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JANE SKINNER, GUEST HOST: She's an 8-month-old baby who was in danger of dying had she stayed in Iraqi. But now she has a fighting chance. Fatemah Hassan -- You can see she has a large tumor on the right side of her face and neck. -- When U.S. military officials in Iraq saw her they knew they had to bring her to the United States for treatment. And they tore through a whole lot of red tape and they got her here.
Tonight she's in a hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and her doctors are here with us. Joining us from Columbus is Dr. Gayle Gordillo, who is a director at Columbus Children's Hospital (search ). And joining us on the phone from Iraq is Lieutenant Colonel Todd Fredricks, he's the military director deployed to Iraq who initially treated little Fatemah.
Dr. Gordillo, most important question, how is she doing tonight and what does she have?
DR. GAYLE GORDILLO, COLUMBUS CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: She's doing really well, and based on all our studies, we think she has a hemangioma involving the right side of her face, neck and upper side of her chest.
SKINNER: And what does that mean?
GORDILLO: Hemangioma is a tumor made up of the cells that form blood vessels and they just proliferate or grow very rapidly and fill up with blood. And in Fatemah's case it can compress her airway, and particularly if she gets an infection. The things will grow even -- will swell substantially and threaten her airway. And certainly that's a life-threatening condition. And that's what Fatemah was dealing with.
SKINNER: And what would have happened if she had stayed in Iraq and it wasn't treated? It would have gotten larger and she wouldn't have been able to breathe ultimately?
GORDILLO: Well, the natural history of these tumors is they grow very rapidly for about the first year of life. So -- and hers was growing quite rapidly shortly before they sent her to us. So, you know, that, and combined with the condition, she certainly was -- her life was jeopardized. And Dr. Fredricks had to pull some very small miracles of his own over there in Iraq to keep Fatemah going.
SKINNER: I know he did. Dr, FREDRICKS, what condition was she in when you first saw her and what was your reaction? I understand that her parents brought her to a military base because they were in desperate need of help.
LT. COL. TODD FREDRICKS, FOUGHT TO SAVE BABY'S LIFE : Well, Jane, actually, what happened was our civil affairs team, we work with -- we're very close to a small town in eastern Iraq, and civil affairs teams were working there every day. And so we had developed a small program with civil affairs, and they actually brought her to them.
I went in and started evaluating her. And initially, the tumor size, it was large. Certainly something more than I had ever seen in the United States. But it rapidly progressed. I mean, it was surprising how quickly. In fact, in a matter of days or so, we were watching definite changes in the mass.
And so we had worked -- Gayle had done a great job with Children's, had gotten us all set up, and almost simultaneously with that we saw her (UNINTELLIGIBLE) rather quickly. So we knew we had to do something. And the Army and the Air Force, the State Department, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) health, everybody was just outstanding in trying to get through things. Congressman Strickland and Senator Rockefeller just did some amazing work getting people, and Secretary Rumsfeld, by the way, getting her out of here. So we're just hoping for her...
SKINNER: Dr. FREDRICKS, are you allowed to treat civilians there? Did you have to break the rules for this little baby?
FREDRICKS: No. We have provisions on a life, limb or eyesight. There's a great press you used your last story, you can see how complicated this place is, and the Army has got a great challenge trying to establish water and schools and those sort of things, and they want to do everything they can to help enable the Iraqi people.
But we have definite guidelines. We've treated several other Iraqis, saved a couple of lives in motor vehicle accidents. They don't have a robust emergency medical system here, so getting them to their doctors -- they have good doctors, it's just that they have limited capability because of the size of their country and their medical infrastructure.
We can do life, limb or eyesight. In this case, she was very toxic. The last time I saw her and got her to the hospital before she was stabilized. So that was completely within the rules. It was a matter of really just getting her through the tape of homeland security and getting her paroled (ph) into the United States for care.
SKINNER: And Dr. FREDRICKS, I think you're being pretty humble about your role in all of this. You were familiar with the Columbus hospital. Did you make the first call and how long did it take, this whole process, of actually getting her to the state?
FREDRICKS: Gayle is a better expert at that. I basically put out an (UNINTELLIGIBLE) because I work with Children's -- in fact, I've got another physician there right now. I'm working with another -- on another child right now that we're trying to look after.
You know, the fact is I called Gayle. She did foot work there and got Children's to come up to the bar and said they were willing to take care of her. So we have good networks. I'm a National Guardsman, West Virginia Army Guard, so I work full time in Marietta, Ohio, and Children's is my referral center for pediatric cases. So I have a good relationship with them. They're just super. I mean, I can't say enough about them, on all levels, not just with this child, but other children that I ask questions about. So it wasn't -- it was a good thing all the way around.
SKINNER: Dr. Gordillo, when you heard the story of little Fatemah, it sounds like the doctors there at the hospital were pretty moved and you decided to treat her for free. What was that conversation like?
GORDILLO: Well, there's never an issue of whether or not anybody wants to. It's a matter of making sure we have the resources. I don't know if you're aware, but the hospital also treated two other Iraqi children for cardiac disease. So you have to make sure before you say yes that when you go to the well, you have the money. But finding the physicians and getting people to commit to doing it was never a problem. Everybody was very eager to do it.
SKINNER: And she, I understand, is to get out of the hospital tomorrow?
GORDILLO: Yes, that's correct.
SKINNER: All right, great, well, good news.
GORDILLO: We put sort of the full-court press on her so that we could get all of the diagnostic workup done as soon as possible and then get her -- she's staying here with a host family, so get her out of the hospital so she can sort of acclimate a little bit.
SKINNER: Sounds like the prognosis is good. Well, Dr. Fredricks, Dr. Gordillo, we thank you both for a great story.
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