Archive for surgery

Huang Chuncai recovers after surgery – visits home

Posted in Rotten with tags , on August 9, 2008 by davehurwitz

After first writing about Huang Chuncai (April 20 and June 27) I had no idea how little information there was on this man. His first surgery is well documented. However, the information following this is scarce. My previous attempt at an update led me to glom onto two photos that were not accurate. A comment by “racliu” gave me a website in Chinese. This was what I needed. i used Google to translate this into English. Then I grabbed a bit of text that had Huang Chuncai’s name (in the original Chinese) and searched it using Google. I was able to uncover several photos for when Huang visited his home town between the first and second surgery. Also, I’ve done my best to transcribe/translate the Chinese text into a coherent story of the man.

Huang Chuncai was born in 1976 in the village of Yulan, in China’s southern province of Hunan. He has four brothers and sisters, and is the second oldest. Even at a month old, his father, Huang Bao, noticed that the head was distorted. Otherwise the boy was no different form other people.

He first developed his sarcoma, or malignant tumor, when he was four. The physical deformity taxed his spirit, and the other villagers became shy around him. He attended elementary school up to the age of seven, third grade. As time went on, the other students alienated him, calling him a monster.

By ten-years-old, he was abandoned by the people of the villiage and ridiculed. Huang left home less and less often. He recalls being terribly bored at home. Sometimes he sould take a stroll around the village or go fishing at the river. However most of his time was spent locked inside his home. By 21, he had spent most of his life indoors.

By 31-years-old, Huang’s tumor drooped almost to his navel. The weight of the 15 kg sarcoma curved the spine in his back, causing a hunch. His left eye was lost as the tissue surrounding it sagged down his face. His left ear hung down near his shoulder. The upper and lower jaw cannot bite together. Huang kept his teeth up to 20-years old. But by age 25, they had been stripped. Today, the 31-year-old Huang has almost lost all hearing and capability of speech.

A reporter brought a tape measure and found the tumor to be 57-centimeters long (97 cm in circumference). Take into consideration that Huang was only 135 cm tall.
Finally the Fuda Hospital, in Guangzhou, agreed to do several operations for free. Huang’s first surgery was in July 2007. After removing 15 kg of tissue, Huang was released and allowed to return to his home.

After and eight hour journey, Huang was exhausted. Family members were excited to see his return. The villagers said that the tumor appeared smaller and that he looked much better. Huang was concerned with the next step of the surgery, which had greater risk. This was to remove the roots of the tumor with abundant blood vessels.

Even though the operation was free, Huang was concerned over the cost. The hospital and the contributions of the staff covered the 140,000 yuan (about $20,000) operation. The second surgery would be more complex and cost even more.

Huang arriving home after his first surgery

Huang arriving home after his first surgery

 

Huang Chancai with his father, Huang Bao

Huang Chancai with his father, Huang Bao

Huang with one of the doctors who performed the operation

Huang with one of the doctors who performed the operation

Huang sitting with a child

Huang sitting with a child

Huang did go back for a second surgery in January. On February 28, the Guangzhou-Cancer Hospital announced that it was a success. The doctors were able to remove about 4.5 kg of the tumor. British BBC television, the Philippines television, “The Vietnamese Times”, and The Associated Press reported the news to the world.

Dr. Niu said the success of this operation means that their treatment has been a complete success. Huang only gradually recovered from the operation. He is considering a third operation. After recovering, Huang Chuncai returned to his village.

Judging by the size of the tumor, I believe this photo was taken after his second surgery.

Judging by the size of the tumor, I believe this photo was taken after his second surgery.

Chris Kalidor

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Strange Perils of Surgery

Posted in Rotten with tags , on April 26, 2008 by davehurwitz

Just a quick post to pass on a little story my G.P. told me during a recent visit. This happened during his residency days. His supervising doctor had asked him to remove a drainage tube from a post-op patient. He gripped the tube and pulled with what seemed to him to be the necessary amount of force. Nothing happened. The tube refused to budge. He pulled ever so slightly harder, and still the tube stayed put. Resisting the urge to give the tube a violent tug, he summoned his supervisor and confessed that it seemed to be stuck. To make a long story short, an X-ray eventually revealed that one of the wires holding the man’s sternum together had snapped. One end had punched clean through the drainage tube, pinning it in place. If my G.P. had pulled any harder, he would literally have torn the patient’s chest open. I’m not normally squeamish, but I had to shudder when I heard this one.

David Hurwitz