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2,000-Year-Old Egyptian Mummy Taken To Hospital For Medical Testing

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The doctors and nurses at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse had the most unusual patient on Sunday, Dec. 10.

The patient called Hen, who happened to be a 2,000-year-old Egyptian mummy, was brought in for a regular CT Scan.

Not A First For Hen 

It was not the first time that Hen made a visit to the Crouse Hospital for a medical test. The mummy got his first CAT scan in March 2006. In fact, a three-dimensional hologram of the mummy, inside the wrappings, was created in that scan and it is now on display at the library.

Interestingly, the 2006 scan results had taken everyone by surprise because it led to the discovery that Hen was actually a male and not female as believed previously. He was erroneously thought to be an Egyptian princess because that is what the benefactor of the library was told while purchasing Hen.

CT Scan Shows Ancient Patient Had Cancer

The scan also showed that the mummy had, what appeared to be, a cancerous tumor on the left leg. The biopsy tools available 10 years ago were not able to figure out the exact type of cancer Hen had.

In the last decade, however, technological innovations have resulted in upgraded equipment and what was once a 16 detector scanner is now a 320 detector scanner. The new set of tests on Sunday were conducted to see if the updated technology could unveil previously unknown and new facts about the mummy’s life and death. Also, it could throw some light on Hen’s leg tumor and the prevalence of cancer.

"He had a tumor on his Fibula which is one of the two bones of the lower leg," said Dr. Mark Levinsohn. "Looking at it, it had all the characteristics of a malignant tumor and one that's somewhat rare. So, here we have a rare circumstance and a rare tumor and that evoked our interest a lot."

All the services and labor associated with Hen’s research and medical studies were donated. It will take a few more months for the samples to be ready.

The Egyptian Mummy In Cazenovia

Hen is the resident mummy at the Cazenovia Library, which has been his home since 1894. The library benefactor Robert Hubbard brought the mummy after buying it during a tour of Egypt, with the aim of setting up a museum in the library.

Its age was proclaimed to be somewhere around 2,000 years by the Cazenovia Republican. Now, Betsy Kennedy, director of the library, wants people to treat Hen as a person and not as a mummy, which can only be possible with more information.

"My goal overall is to make this mummy a person; the more information we can get about Hen - who he was, how he lived, how he died - the more respect we can have for him," Kennedy said. "I want people to think of Hen as a person and not as an oddity."

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