A 14-year-old boy from Cuba has died after doctors in Miami removed a 10-
14-year-old boy, Emanuel Zayas was suffering from a condition called polyostotic fibrous dysplasia. This condition causes replacement of bones with tissues often causing deformities and unusual growth of parts.
In case of Zayas, it caused a 10-pound benign tumor on his face. Although it wasn’t cancerous, it was life-threatening as further growth could suffocate Zayas or its weight could break his neck.
At age 11, Zayas first noticed a growth on his nose but dismissed it thinking it was harmless. Later it turned out to be a basketball-sized tumor affecting the way he ate, his breathing, eyesight, and speech. It had left him unrecognizable.
Zayas is originally from Cuba but his family moved to the United States for his treatment. Missionaries from Reel Life International, a humanitarian nonprofit, extended a helping hand towards Zayas and his family and forwarded his case to Dr. Robert E. Marx, a surgeon at Jackson Memorial Hospital, experienced in the removal of large facial tumors. The boy underwent surgery to remove the tumor at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Donations were invited through online donation platforms and a Facebook page and money was raised for the procedure.
Initially, in January, the surgery seemed to be successful as Zayas’s eyes were reacting normally to stimulation and muscle tone in his face was developing. However, the teenager’s body couldn’t ultimately cope and his lungs and kidneys started shutting down.
“Our condolences and prayers for Emanuel’s family and the loss of a very brave young man,” said Marx, “Another angel has arrived in heaven”.
“I am saddened by the fact that we are losing him and that apparently the physiologic stress of the surgery was too much for his compromised anatomy to overcome,” he said Saturday. “Our hopes of saving his life and in doing so would allow him a better quality of life have not been realized.”
Zayas’ family decided to take a difficult but highly encouraging step and donated his body to help medical science understand this rare condition better and possibly improve the chances for any other victim of polyostotic fibrous dysplasia all over the world.