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Baby has surgery on spine

A Largo baby, undergoing life-threatening surgery in Baltimore forcomplications resulting from a rare form of dwarfism, was still in an

operating room at Johns Hopkins Hospital on Friday evening.

Six-month-old Michael Schaffer went into surgery about 11 a.m. Friday, said his grandmother, Hazel Seiverd of Tampa.

"It was about 1:30 p.m. before the anesthesiologist thought he was stable enough to begin," Mrs. Seiverd said.

The surgery to correct a 90-degree curve in his spine was expected to take eight to 10 hours. Had the baby not undergone surgery, he would have been paralyzed by the time he reached 13 months, doctors had told the parents, Vonnie and Tom Schaffer.

Michael has a rare form of dwarfism in which the spine becomes compressed and inhibits breathing. Doctors hope that by attaching bone from his leg to his spine, Michael will be able to walk.