Born missing half of her heart and one of her lungs, doctors didn’t have much hope for baby Teegan Lexcen. Despite their doubts, she managed to survive for two months, while her parents began to look for someone, anyone, who might be able to help her. Little did they know that with the help of Google Cardboard, Teegan could be saved.
Their search led them to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital (NCH) in Miami, known around the world for specializing in pediatric surgery. There, the family found doctors who would take a chance on their daughter, with a truly surprising use of technology.
The Plan for using Google Cardboard
Dr. Juan Carlos Muniz, a pediatric cardiologist, took it upon himself to create a 3D model of young Teegan’s heart to help doctors visualize the problem and plan accordingly.
Although the hospital’s 3D printer had been damaged, he was able to use Google Cardboard, a $20 cardboard box, to create 3D images of the problem.
By using Google Cardboard in conjunction with Sketchfad, an iPhone app, Muniz was able to see Teegan’s heart in 3D.
Since Google Cardboard goggles allow you to manipulate the image and see from every possible angle, he was able to build a much more complete model of her heart, which let them plan out the surgery far better than they would have been able to otherwise.
With this added foresight, they decided the odds of success greatly outweighed the risks, and prepped baby Teegan for surgery.
After a tense surgery, Teegan has since been taken off her ventilator and is now expected to make a full recovery.
In an interview with CNN, Cassidy Lexcen, Teegan’s mother, described the procedure as: “mind-blowing… To see this little cardboard box and a phone, and to think this is what saved our daughter’s life.”
Burke fully attributes the success of the surgery to the team’s use of new technology. He described the ability to visualize the problem and find a way to work around it as making the difference between life and death for her. He believes that, without this technology, there would have been no hope for Teegan.
This particular use for Google Cardboard may be well beyond what anyone at Google ever anticipated, but it shows just how far technology and ingenuity can go when combined in the proper fashion.
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