How a trip to the dentist may have saved this child’s life

Posted at 12:53 PM, Feb 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-11 12:54:46-05

EDMOND, Okla. — Most children go to the dentist for a regular teeth cleaning or perhaps to fill a cavity. But for 11-year-old Journee Woodard, a trip to the dentist may end up saving her life. Woodard was sitting in the dentist's chair when the dental hygienist noticed something odd, not with the child's teeth, but her eyes.

"She said you know, Journee’s eyes look yellow," Dr. Michael Chandler told "She asked me to take a look, I took a look and said that does look abnormal." Days later, Journee was in the hospital fighting for her life.

The website Journee’s Journey chronicled the child's condition and recovery.

Friday she underwent a nine-hour surgery to remove a grapefruit-size tumor. Surgeons performed “Whipple Procedure,” a major operation that removed part of her pancreas, stomach, gall bladder and part of the intestine.

"It’s hard to feel like I’m a hero," Dr. Chandler said. He added he and his team were simply being diligent and doing their job.

Journee’s family is now waiting for test results on the tumor.