Boy With 10-pound Tumor on Face Passes Away After Surgery

January 22, 2018 Updated: February 22, 2018

A young boy from Cuba who underwent surgery in Florida to remove a massive 10-pound tumor from his face has died.

The surgery performed at the Holtz Children’s Hospital in Jackson Memorial was initially successful. But a few days later the health condition of 14-year-old Emanuel Zayas plummeted with kidney and lung complications, according to the Miami Herald.

Zayas died on the evening of Friday, Jan. 19.

“Our condolences and prayers for Emanuel’s family and the loss of a very brave young man,” Robert E. Marx, a surgeon at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, told NBC 6. “Another angel has arrived in Heaven.”

The boy had been battling a rare medical condition called polyostotic fibrous dysplasia for 12 years. A disorder that features the replacement of multiple areas of bone by fibrous tissue, which may cause fractures and deformity of the legs, arms, and skull, according to medicinenet.com. This irregular tissue can weaken the affected bone and cause it to deform or fracture, according to the Mayo Clinic. It was what caused the benign tumor to develop on Zayas’s face.

The tumor threatened to suffocate the boy because it rested on his trachea. He also suffered from malnourishment because it made it difficult to eat and swallow.

Marx said he saw positive signs of progress in Zayas just one day before he passed away.

“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,” Marx told NBC 6 on Saturday. “Our hopes of saving his life and in doing so would allow him a better quality of life have not been realized.”

Zayas’s parents had previously tried for years to get medical help until doctors were finally able to get a temporary visa for the boy and his family to come to Miami from Cuba to have the surgery scheduled in January.

According to the Miami Herald, several patrons raised money for the procedure with an online donation page and Facebook page called “Emanuel el Josue de este tiempo” which translates to Emanuel the Joshua of Our Time.

An updated post by announcing that Zayas had passed away garnered over 200 messages of condolences. The update was written by Jaynie Estrada who led the fund-raising effort.

Marx said Zayas’ family plans to donate their son’s body to medical research to learn more about the rare disease and to help people who suffer from polyostotic fibrous dysplasia.

“I am personally saddened but want to thank all of you for your well wishes and prayers,” Marx told NBC 6. “Please continue the prayers.”

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