iMRI Patient Stories
Norton Hospital's iMRI department has helped many adult and pediatric patients whose quality of life is vastly improved after having surgery in the iMRI. These patients continue to lead happier, healthier lives as a result of iMRI technology.
In a month and a half, bright-eyed toddler Jeffrey Mason went from being a normal young child who was walking and talking to a very sick child near death. His mother firmly believes Jeffrey would not be here today without the iMRI and Kosair Children's Hospital. "If it was not for the iMRI, I would not have my son now," said Rickie Lane, Jeffrey Mason's mother. "We were sent by God to Kosair Children's Hospital -- I firmly believe that."
At 18 months old, Jeffrey was falling and had difficulty balancing. At first, physicians blamed his ear infection. But when the balance problem persisted, an orthopaedist at an ER dismissed Jeffrey's problems as "just a phase." Soon, Jeffrey lost control of his right arm. His parents took him to another ER where a doctor suggested his frequent falls had simply caused him to begin to favor his left hand.
Then Jeffrey began vomiting and became increasingly lethargic. Doctors attributed his symptoms to a stomach "bug" and told his parents to give him fluids. Three days later, frustrated and worried, Jeffrey's dad, Jeff, brought him to Kosair Children's Hospital where Kosair doctors found a massive brain tumor and cyst on Jeffrey's brain. If Jeff had not brought Jeffrey into the Kosair Children's Hospital ER, he might have lived only a few more hours or days.
Dr. Thomas M. Moriarty, co-director of the iMRI Center and chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Kosair Children's Hospital, stepped in. Dr. Moriarty drained the cyst to remove the pressure on Jeffrey's brain and to eliminate the immediate, life-threatening problem. He then biopsied Jeffrey's brain and found cancer. Because of the location and size of Jeffrey's brain tumor, the operation would be extremely difficult to perform in a regular operating room. The tumor was dangerously close to the part of his brain that controls movement.
However, because Dr. Moriarty could view Jeffrey's brain and the MRI images simultaneously during surgery in the iMRI, he was able to pinpoint the exact location of the tumor and remove it without causing harm to any normal parts of Jeffrey's brain. He removed the tumor completely, and now Jeffrey's oncologists are fighting his cancer with chemotherapy and down the road, possibly radiation.
Today, Jeffrey speaks and walks normally and is moving his right arm normally. He is in physical therapy and back to picking up things with both hands and riding his beloved Big Wheel.
Melissa Jewell tried to steady herself when she heard these words: "Your son has a brain tumor, and it appears to be inoperable."
The picture of perfect health, 12-year old Thomas was dealing with a five-centimeter tumor positioned directly in the center of his brain. There appeared to be little doctors could do about it. Melissa had taken Thomas to the ER at Kosair Children's Hospital where he was suffering with persistent, severe headaches, nausea and vomiting. Emergency room doctors at Kosair Children's Hospital found the mass in Thomas' brain and admitted him to the Intensive Care Unit.
"The first doctors who examined Thomas told me they thought the tumor was probably inoperable because of its location," Melissa says. "Then, Dr. (Thomas) Moriarty visited us and told us he thought a new machine called the iMRI could help Thomas. He was very confident he could get the tumor out." Days later, Dr. Moriarty performed Thomas' brain surgery. The operation was a success.
Thomas and Melissa Jewell experienced first-hand the benefits of the iMRI. Dr. Moriarty removed Thomas' benign tumor and left only a small piece because the risk of damaging Thomas' eyesight. Thomas went home three days later without any problems. He was back in school just one week after surgery doing the things he loves best - playing basketball, being outdoors and building things like his very own clubhouse.
"The iMRI will forever revolutionize the way surgery is performed," says Christopher B. Shields, M.D, co-director of the iMRI Center, Norton Hospital chairman in Neurological Surgery and professor and chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. "It will help usher in the next generation of minimally invasive interventional and surgical procedures."
At age 10, Erica Kalbhin was first diagnosed with a brain tumor that was causing cysts to form in her brain dangerously close to her pituitary gland and optic nerve. The tumor required immediate surgery. After surgery, Erica faced a lengthy recovery period.
Three years later, the tumor caused a new cyst to grow in Erica's brain. Now 13, Erica and her family faced not only the recurring threat of her brain tumor, but with it, the reality of another dangerous and potentially debilitating surgery along with many months of slow recovery. Fortunately, during the three years between her surgeries, Norton Hospital had opened one of the world's finest centers dedicated to treating exactly this type of disease: the Intra-Operative Magnetic Resonance Imaging (iMRI) Center.
Thanks to the leading-edge technology offered by the iMRI and the highly skilled, expertly trained surgeons, nurses and technologists at Norton and Kosair Children's hospitals, Erica's surgery went exactly as planned, and her tumor was treated. Erica went home the day after surgery without any problems and was back to her usual activities that week.
Only a few months later, Erica was singing and dancing as one of the "Pink Ladies" in a production of the musical "Grease."