On Tuesday, Atlanta doctors removed a tumor the size of a beach ball from a woman’s abdomen.
According to Dr. Alan Gordon, the noncancerous growth had been forming for several years, and had become attached to several of her organs as well as to the wall of her stomach.
Doris Lewis, who doesn’t have health insurance, had been turned away from multiple hospitals before Emory University Hospital surgeons promised to help her last month – despite her lack of insurance.
The 59-year-old woman underwent the 8-hour surgery to remove the massive tumor, which weighed in at 27 pounds.
When the tumor first started to grow, Lewis thought she was just gaining weight. Then, when her husband died, she not only stopped prioritizing her health – she also lost her health insurance.
However, as her belly continued to swell, she began to seek out doctors for help.
Lewis sought out four hospitals, none of whom would take her without health insurance.
One night about a month ago, however, Lewis went to the emergency room complaining of shortness of breath. Doctors examined Lewis and, seeing that she needed immediate help, they agreed to help her, regardless of whether or not she could pay for the procedure.
The surgery was arranged for in June.
“This thing was going to continue to grow,” Gordon said. “The good news for her was that even though it had grown a significant size, it had been doing this slowly.”
Doctors have said that Lewis is to stay in the hospital for the next several days; they hope to have her walking around Wednesday.
“It’s just so overwhelming, and I’m thankful, and I’m happy she was able to make it,” Lewis’ daughter, Sarina, said of her mother’s surgery.