Cuban Teen in U.S. for Surgery, Dies of Complications


A teenage boy who came to South Florida from Cuba to have a massive facial tumor removed has died days after surgery, according to news reports.

Doctors warned that if it was left untreated, it would fracture his neck. But on Saturday, Dr. Marx said Zayas' condition had worsened with kidney and lung 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", Marx wrote in the post.

The tumor had been growing since he was 11, when what he thought was a pimple on his nose was actually skull bone growing from his upper jaw. The tumor was benign, but it was pressing down on his trachea, and the boy was also malnourished, as it was hard for him to swallow. "His condition has deteriorated with kidney and lung failure that the best of ICU can not keep pace".

At the time he could only breathe through his mouth and was extremely malnourished because the growth made chewing hard.

Initially, in January, the surgery seemed to be successful as Zayas's eyes were reacting normally to stimulation and muscle tone in his face was developing.

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Dr. Robert Marx, head of the maxillofacial surgery at the University of Miami Health System, said the Zayas family now hope to donate the boy's remains to science with the goal of learning more about Polyostotic fibrous dysplasia.

Emanuel first started to show signs of the condition at the age of two when his leg and arm began curving in outward.

A GoFundMe page had been set up to help the family with their travel expenses.

The tumor covered his face and though the growth was benign, it could have suffocated him because of the pressure it was putting on this trachea, The Miami Herald reported.

Dr Marx and his team were donating their time and skill to Emanuel.

Doctors at the Holtz Children's Hospital successfully managed to remove the tumour but Emanuel's condition rapidly deteriorated. I am so grateful he was willing to take the case'.