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Google Cardboard is a lifesaver for a baby facing a grim diagnosis

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Wow! Good news on Google Cardboard again! Kudos to the Cardiac surgeons for their ingenuity!

[h=1]Google Cardboard is a lifesaver for a baby facing a grim diagnosis[/h] BY Joe Dziemianowicz
Thursday, January 7, 2016, 6:44 PM

A throwaway virtual-reality gizmo has given a dying baby the priceless gift of life.
Google Cardboard, $20 toy-like goggles, gave cardiac surgeons the perspective they needed to repair four-month-old Teegan Lexcen’s heart and lung.
Born with half a heart and one lung, she faced a dire prognosis.
Doctors in Minnesota, where Teegan’s parents Cassidy and Chad and her twin sister, Riley, live, told the family they couldn’t operate.
Chad’s sister reached out to Redmond Burke, M.D., a cardiovascular surgeon at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, known for his innovative techniques.
Courtesy of Dr. Redmond Burke[h=2]Dr. Redmond Burke, in NYC on Jan. 7, looks through the Google Cardboard.[/h]
“Teegan had the worst set of defects you can imagine,” Burke told the Daily News. “I’ve been doing surgery for 30 years. This is the first time I’ve seen a case like hers.”

Her case was rare. So was her will to live.
“Teegan was tough,” said Burke. “She didn’t slip away. She had a will to live. When you see a kid make it despite lethal defects you start saying ‘This kid’s a survivor.’”
[h=2]Redmond Burke, M.D., prepares to operate on Teegan Lexcen.[/h]
The key to a successful surgical outcome, said Burke, 57, was all about imaging and a crystal clear idea of what to expect before he picked up a scalpel.
Burke asked colleague Juan Carlos Muniz, M.D., to make a 3-D model of Teegan’s heart using computer scans of the baby’s heart and lung. The hospital’s 3-D printer was down — and the clock was ticking.
Using a 3-D publishing platform called Sketchfab, Muniz downloaded images of Teegan’s heart and lung onto his smartphone. They were then able to look at 3D images using Google Cardboard, which look like toy goggles.
But when you insert a smartphone and use the right app you can see images in 3-D virtual reality that come with the clarity and definition needed for delicate surgery.
Courtesy of Nicklaus Children's Hospital[h=2]Teegan Lexcen is a fighter, says her doctor.[/h]
“It was the first time I’ve ever touched Google Cardboard,” said Burke, adding that putting it together with CT and MRI images and Sketchfab revealed “gave a whole new perspective to this baby’s heart.
“It gave me autonomy and flexibility,” he added. “You can use it anywhere.” The night before the surgery, Burke, who grew up in Silicon Valley, prepped by gazing through the googles one last time while lying on his couch at home.
You don’t have to be a physician to use Google Cardboard. The gadget sells for about $20. The app is free.
With the clear images in hand, they then performed a multi-stage seven-hour lifesaving operation. The surgery involved rebuilding Teegan’s aorta and connecting it to the pulmonary artery and making a connection to her right lung.
Courtesy of Nicklaus Children's Hospital and Lexcen Family[h=2]Operative planning with Google Cardboard, Sketchfab and an iPhone.[/h]
That was 29 days ago.
Little Teegan is now recovering at the hospital with her parents and twin sister Riley at her side. “She’s getting stronger every day,” said Burke. “Her mom’s been providing breast milk.”
Teegan is on a ventilator and getting stronger every day, said Burke. She could be home in Minnesota next month.
Burke, who was in New York on Thursday to deliver a speech, is still marveling at the cardboard breakthrough.
“It was the most elegant thing I’d seen in decades,” he said. “It was extremely simple.”
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