A 14-year-old Cuban boy died late last week, just days after surviving a complicated surgery to remove a 10-lb. tumor from his face, the family says.
Emanuel Zayas’ condition went downhill in the week after he underwent the 12-hour surgery at the Holtz Children’s Hospital at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, according to the Miami Herald. Emanuel died Friday from lung and kidney complications.
“The surgery successfully removed the tumor but he had other complications that could not be overcome,” his parents wrote in a statement on Facebook.
“We truly believe and know without a doubt that Emanuel did indeed receive complete healing and that now he has a perfect, sweet face and two legs that work, and that he is running and jumping and having a great time in heaven right now.”
About three years ago, Emanuel developed what his family believed to be a pimple on the side of his nose. However, the blemish kept growing — obstructing Emanuel’s vision, blocking his nose and making it difficult for him to eat, Today reports.
“I was very surprised and alarmed to see how quickly the tumor was growing,” Melvis Vizaino told the site, with the help of a translator. “I desperately began to seek medical help because I knew this was not normal.”
Vizaino and the boy’s father, Noel Zayas, took him to Miami after learning that he had a rare bone disorder called polyostotic fibrous dysplasia. Doctors feared that, if not removed, the tumor would break his neck.
Dr. Robert Marx, chief of oral and maxillofacial surgery for the University of Miami Health System, performed the surgery and said in a statement that he recently visited Emanuel and saw a “glimmer of hope” in the boy.
“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,” he said in a statement. “Our hopes of saving his life and in doing so would allow him a better quality of life have not been realized.”
“Another angel has arrived in heaven,” Marx said.
He continued, “Please know that the family finds comfort in donating Emanuel’s body to medical research in hopes of learning more about this rare disease and helping the people all over the world who suffer from it.”