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Ukrainian Child’s Condition Upgraded

July 23, 1988

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ The condition of a 2-year-old Ukrainian girl whose mother believes her brain tumor was caused by the Chernobyl nuclear accident was upgraded from critical, a hospital spokeswoman said Saturday.

Hanna Andrievna Sverstiuk, who had a brain tumor removed at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, was listed in stable condition in the intensive care unit, said spokeswoman Martha Phan.

″She’s doing real well,″ Phan said.

Neurosurgeons removed the core of Hanna’s brain tumor during a nearly six- hour operation Friday and awaited test results to determine whether the growth is benign or malignant. Phan said the results are expected by Monday.

Hanna’s mother, Maria Sverstiuk, has said she believes the walnut-sized tumor that was at the base of the child’s brain stem resulted from the radiation of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, 50 miles from Kiev in the Soviet Union.

Hanna was born in Kiev five days after the April 26, 1986, explosion and fire that killed at least 31 people and released a cloud of radioactive material that eventually circled the globe. Two months ago, Hanna was diagnosed as having a brain tumor.

Dr. Leonard A. Bruno, a neurosurgeon, said it is unlikely that exposure to Chernobyl’s radiation would cause a solid tumor, the type of growth removed from Hanna’s brain, in an infant.

″Radiation can be the cause of tumors of any kind,″ he said. ″However, the type of radiation one would get from a situation like Chernobyl has a much longer latency period - 10 to 20 years.″

The toddler’s trip to the United States followed efforts of Ukrainian communities on both sides of the Atlantic and negotiations between officials in Washington and Moscow.

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