Skooter reporting 07/08/12
A rapidly growing, 51 pound or 23 kg cancerous tumor from a woman was removed by New Jersey surgeons. Her treatment had been delayed for more than a month because she was not eligible for health insurance, her doctor said on Tuesday.
Dr. David Dupree who led the surgery on the 65-year-old woman at Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, New Jersey said she was a skinny lady with a huge belly. She looked like she was literally pregnant with triplets. The patient was a homemaker from nearby Union Beach, New Jersey, who wanted to be identified only as Evelyn, her first name.
Evelyn noticed discomfort in her abdomen and that her normally 120-pound frame was fast ballooning. She showed up at the hospital about six to eight weeks and sought medical help on June 4, just days after her 65th birthday, when she would qualify for Medicare, the U.S. healthcare program for seniors.
Dupree said the reason she didn't go earlier was because she had no insurance.
From 120 pounds, she weighed now more than 170 pounds, her legs were swollen due to blood clot, badly dehydrated, and, scans showed, the tumor, a malignant sarcoma was devastating her inferior vena cava, one of the main veins returning blood to the heart threatening her life.
Dupree slated her for surgery the following Monday because her body was too weak to be operated on immediately, thus allowing time for her to become rehydrated and for her blood pressure be brought under control.
But on Sunday, she experienced short of breath, so Dupree brought the surgery in advance. The doctor knew she wasn’t going to make it through the night, either she goes now or she dies tonight.
Dupree opened her up, and he and his team found the tumor, which seemed to have originated out of the fatty tissue around her large intestine, had swallowed up many of her internal organs, and had to be cut away "millimeter by millimeter" over the course of the five-hour surgery.
On Tuesday, Evelyn was still recovering from the surgery in a rehabilitation center , Dupree said. Evelyn refused to be interviewed.
The immediate threat to her life has gone though, she must still see an oncologist about treatment for her cancer, which may not have been totally eliminated by the surgery, and may need chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
So to non-insured patient, Dupree said he would advise to see a doctor immediately if they feel ill or uncomfortable no matter how near their 65th birthday might be. Regardless of Evelyn insurance status, he said the hospital nevertheless would have operated on her, but he did not know whether doing so would have cost her more money.