We knew how to cure him

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Charity care through-out Emory Healthcare for treating cancer patients totaled $6.1 million over the past fiscal year.

When a metal toolbox fell from a shelf and hit him directly in the testicles, Jesus Perez, 29, had never felt such pain.

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He was confused when the doctor—well, the translator—kept saying that the lump in his testicle was not because of the cursed toolbox but something else. 

At Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton, Ga., oncologist Hosam Naguib diagnosed testicular cancer. After four cycles of chemo, Perez’s tumor marker levels remained high. A CT-scan showed lung metastases. Naguib called Emory Winship Cancer Institute oncologist Ned Waller. Would he see Perez if a translator from the Northwest Georgia Healthcare Advocacy group brought him to Emory? 

At Emory University Hospital, Waller and his team performed a stem cell transplant from Perez’s own marrow after bouts of high-dose chemotherapy. The translator stayed with Perez each step of the way, transporting him back to Dalton in between treatments, so he could be near his wife and children. 

Despite the fact that his tumor marker levels were falling, metastases were still visible in his lungs. Cardiothoracic surgeon Dan Miller at Emory University Hospital Midtown removed the cancerous masses in two separate operations. 

Perez’s tumor marker levels fell more, then to zero, where they have remained for months. His treatment had required chemotherapy, stem cell infusions, surgery, and the partnership of an academic and community hospital, but as far as we know, says Waller, we have cured this young man. It didn’t come cheap, either for the Dalton hospital or for Emory Healthcare. “But what else could any of us have done?” asks Waller. “He was going to die and we knew how to cure him.”

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