Iraqi Dad Takes Baby to U.S. for Surgery

An Iraqi dad has risked everything to save his 11-month-old daughter's life, first traveling to Baghdad's infamous Abu Ghraib prison (search) to plead for help, then winding up in the United States for his baby's medical care.

The little girl, Tabby, was in surgery Friday in Charleston to remove life-threatening blood tumors called hemangiomas (search), which have caused her face to be excessively swollen and deformed.

In spite of the prisoner abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib that has tarnished the U.S. military's reputation, the desperate dad made the dangerous trek there after Iraqi doctors were unable to operate on his daughter.

Because of security concerns, FOX News, which has been following this story exclusively, could not reveal the identity of Tabby's father or the town in Iraq where he comes from. The man fears that his appeal for help from the Americans will be misinterpreted by other Iraqis who might think he is working with the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.

At Abu Ghraib, the father met with the U.S. Marines 4th Civil Affairs Group and Navy Cmdr. Dr. Louis Tripoli, who recognized how serious the little girl's condition was.

Tripoli first went to local Iraqi doctors for the child's care. When they couldn't help, he asked organizations including The Hemangioma Foundation and Operation Give (search) to aid in making arrangements for Tabby and her father to leave Iraq so that she could come to America to get the treatment required to save her life.

Tripoli even involved his parents from Pittsburgh. Charles and Rita Tripoli, a doctor and a nurse, met Tabby and her dad in Amman, Jordan. The father was prepared to hand his baby girl over to the Tripolis, but he got a visa at the last minute and was able to accompany her to the U.S.

"The Marines put their hearts and souls in this," said Dr. Charles Tripoli, who with his wife is acting as a host family to father and child. "We also want to show our solidarity with the Iraqi people."

Tabby's dad had to leave his wife and two other children in Iraq to make the trip. Though he's concerned for their safety, he realizes this is the last chance for his baby girl.

"The most important thing for me is my daughter," said the father. "I would sacrifice everything for her."

Dr. Marcelo Hochman (search), a reconstructive plastic surgeon, was operating on Tabby Friday, with the support of The Hemangioma Foundation.

"Something we really, really believe in is that all children deserve the right to look normal," said the foundation's Jane Milner. "And we want to make that happen."

Just days before making the trip to the United States, Tabby went for her first vaccinations — during which doctors discovered heart complications. The child had a murmur, a hole in her heart and congestive heart failure, which will also require surgery.

"We'll evaluate the heart and at the same time determine a plan for what's best for the treatment of the hemangiomas," Hochman said before the Friday procedure.

In all, the baby will need at least three surgeries. FOX News was in the OR Friday while Hochman performed the first of the operations.

Meanwhile, Tabby's dad was adjusting to life a world away from home, waiting, hoping and praying for his little daughter's full recovery.

Click on the video box at the top of this story to watch a report by FOX News' Jamie Colby.

FOX News' Jamie Colby and Catherine Donaldson-Evans contributed to this report.