The successful surgery to remove a giant tumor on the face of a 14-year-old boy from Cuba was not enough to save his life, as he passed away in a Miami hospital.
The boy was suffering from a rare medical condition, and it took his family years before they were able to get help.
The Boy With The 10-Pound Tumor On His Face
For the past 12 years, Emanuel Zayas has suffered from what is known as polyostotic fibrous dysplacia. The condition causes some of the bones to become soft, which resulted in a 10-pound benign tumor forming on Zayas' face.
Emanuel's family tried to get the boy help for years, but it was not until November 2017 that they were granted a humanitarian visa to fly from Cuba to Miami. Emanuel's case was forwarded by missionaries of humanitarian nonprofit organization Reel Life International to Dr. Robert Marx, the head of maxilofacial surgery at the University of Miami Health System and who carries significant experience in removing giant tumors from the face.
By the time Emanuel arrived in Miami, the tumor had grown so big that the boy was finding it hard to breathe and eat. The tumor was benign, but it was pressing down on his trachea, and the boy was also malnourished, as it was difficult for him to swallow. Marx warned that the weight of the tumor may even cause a neck fracture.
Emanuel finally underwent surgery at Holtz Children's Hospital at Jackson Memorial on Jan. 19 to remove the tumor.
Emanuel Zayas Passes Away
The surgery was successfully able to remove the giant tumor from the boy's face. However, shortly after, Marx told NBC that Emanuel's condition had started to deteriorate, as the boy was suffering from lung and kidney failure.
"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," said Marx in an interview.
Emanuel was not able to pull through and has passed away. The boy's parents, meanwhile, pledged to donate his body to medical research to help scientists learn more about polyostotic fibrous dysplacia. Hopefully, this will develop treatments for other people who are suffering from the rare illness.
A Facebook page that was created to facilitate donations for Emanuel has received hundreds of messages of condolences from people who were hoping for the boys' recovery.
"Thank you to everyone all over the world who donated, prayed and encouraged Emanuel," wrote Jaynie Estrada, a missionary who led the fundraising efforts for the Zayas family.