In January, a 25 year old road worker was brought to me at a Catholic
mission where I see patients of all sorts and ethnicities in our JDC
medical program. He had an enormous brain tumor and new onset of
blindness in his left eye. Over the past 2 years, he had 2
neurosurgeries in Ethiopia, and a pathologic diagnosis of meningioma.
I had never seen anything like this before.
I immediately got an MRI and sent it out to 10 highly experienced
neurosurgeons. 8 felt this was inoperable. However, Dr. Eric Nussbaum
of St. Paul, Minnesota offered to operate at no cost. We managed to
get him a passport, a US visa, and found a medical escort to assist
him, an Ethiopian physician friend with a US passport.
In February, he underwent a total resection. 7.5 pounds of mass were
removed in a surgery which required 4 liters of blood. Margins are
clear. He is neurologically intact. Pathology shows osteosarcoma. He
will start treatment with cisplatin + doxorubicin this week to
decrease chances of recurrence.
There is a supernatural component to this: In November, 2008, while
visiting Minnesota I overslept. Because I did not have time to do
morning prayers, after my first meeting, Mort Naiman took me to a
synagogue, where I happened to meet Dr. Eric Nussbaum. I showed him
images of another patient with a disfiguring brain tumor, and 6 months
later, he operated on her successfully at St. Joseph’s Hospital at no
My thanks to all who made this possible, especially Dr. Nussbaum, the
good folks at St. Joseph’s Hospital, and to Casio, maker of my faulty
Story and photos distributed with permission of Dawit.
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