Follow up to Iraqi boy's brain tumor

Seven's On Call with Dr. Jay Adlersberg
March 19, 2008 9:00:00 PM PDT
We told you last month about a 10-year-old Iraqi boy who had come to this country for treatment of a brain tumor. He was facing surgery but then doctors saw the results of one last test....and that changed everything. Dr. Jay Adlersberg has more.

This is one of the beauties of medicine. There is a brain tumor. Surgery may appear inevitable and then something new shows up and everything changes as in this case, for the better.

Gorgis Major is a normal, typical 10-year-old, fascinated with a new toy that makes some interesting sounds. But deep inside Gorgis' head, there is a tumor and it is not small.

"Three inches across here and the height of the thing is a good four inches," said Dr Rick Abbot at Montefiore Medical Center.

Dr. Rick Abbot is a neurosurgeon at Montefiore Medical Center. We first talked to him and met Gorgis and family members last month. Gorgis has been flown here for the surgery from his small town in Iraq.

But, then, the day before surgery...

"At about four o'clock in the afternoon, the final hormone test came back. Every test had been normal but the last one came in, the results were astounding. It just blew us away," said Dr. Rick Abbott. "It is not something you expect in a 10-year-old boy at all."

The test showed that the tumor on the pituitary gland was of a type that can be treated with a pill! The tumor's called a pituitary macro adenoma.

"It's a tumor that is seen commonly in adults but not a tumor we expect to see in a child," said Dr. Rick Abbott.

But for now, this child is being treated with a drug. It is good news. Gorgis returns to Iraq next month with a six month supply of medication and the doctors are optimistic that will end the problem.

In the meantime, Gorgis has been learning some English words.

"Car, mouse, window, door...," said Gorgis.

Why mouse we asked his aunt?

"Because he likes mouse in Tom and Jerry cartoon," said aunt and translator, Basima Yacob.

A very happy little boy and happy family.

Dr. Abbot who's treated hundred and hundred of children with brain tumors has never before seen this type of tumor in a child.

No knowledge as to why or how it developed but the medicine should. That means no surgery, no chemotherapy and no radiation.