HUNTINGTON - Dante Francis is now a happy and healthy 10-month-old boy, but his parents say if it weren't for a groundbreaking medical procedure, he might have never been born.

When Dante's mother, Suzanne Francis, of Huntington, was just 13 weeks pregnant, she learned that her baby had a potentially life-threatening condition caused by an excess of fluid around his heart.

The Huntington family turned to doctors at North Shore University Hospital to save Dante's life. Four-and-a-half months into her pregnancy, Francis agreed to undergo a risky, innovative procedure called inutero pericardiocentesis, which involves using a needle to drain fluid around the baby's heart.

The procedure turned out to be a success, and Dante was born a healthy baby.

Although the boy's parents admit that agreeing to the procedure was the hardest decision they've ever made, they say it was the most rewarding.

Dante does have to get his heart checked periodically, but doctors say he's leading a normal life.