Norfolk, VA (March 2014) – Juan Carlos Pineda Pacheco looked like any healthy, handsome 17 year-old. But he suffered excruciating facial pain from a rare, recurrent tumor in his jaw called a chondromesenchymal hamartoma for which he underwent several surgeries as a child. Juan Carlos is from Siguatepeque, Honduras. His family spent all their resources on previous medical care. But the tumor returned and there were no providers or hospitals in his country with the expertise and technologies to eliminate the tumor.
In response to this unusual need, a team of specialists from Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Eastern Virginia Medical School and community healthcare providers pulled together to assist Juan Carlos and his family.
On March 5, 2014, Eastern Virginia Medical School surgeons, Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and others collaborated on a 14-hour surgery to remove the tumor from Juan Carlos’s jaw and harvest bone and tissue from his legs to reconstruct his jaw.
“This was a major surgery,” said John Sinacori, MD, a surgeon with the Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery program at Eastern Virginia Medical School. “We were happy to donate our time to help relieve his suffering and allow him to live a more normal life.”
“It’s gratifying to see our whole family of providers come together to support this effort,” said Paul Chidester, MD, vice president of medical affairs at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. “Radiology, Pathology and Anesthesia services were donated for this unusual case, and were happy to make an OR, support team and inpatient care available.”
Other physicians providing services are with Atlantic Anesthesia, Medical Center Radiologists and Pathology Sciences Medical Group at Sentara Norfolk General.
Juan Carlos will need several weeks to recover from the surgery. Fortunately, pathology studies have determined that the tumor was benign. His mother, Norma Pacheco, is staying at Ronald McDonald House near the Eastern Virginia Medical Center campus.
Watch a video about Juan Carlos
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