St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church 1500 Brookdale Road  ·  Naperville, IL 60563  ·  (630) 355-8980  ·
St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church - Naperville, IL
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Successful Surgery for Ostavilise

By: Anne Schultz | Last Updated: 03/08/2011 15:36

Ostavilise Michel is a mother of five children in our Twinning village of Duchity, Haiti. She was suffering from an aggressive tumor of the jaw. For a number of years, our Dental teams have been monitoring her condition. They determined that if left untreated, it would continue to destroy the jaw bone. Her remaining jaw bone was thin and fragile. She was at risk for fracture, infection, and eventual death.

Our Twinning dentists & surgeons, especially Dr. Nowell Blecha, had been working for about two years to find a surgeon able and willing to do the surgery pro bono. They found one in Dr. Robert Marx at the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine. He is one of very few surgeons that can do what was needed.

St. Thomas took the primary role in sponsoring Ostavilise’s visa through the US Consulate in Port-au-Prince. Father Marcel in Duchity and Father Michelet in Port-au-Prince shepherded Ostavilise through the complex process.

Below is an email message from Dr. Marx:

"Ostavilise safely arrived in Miami the evening of Monday February 21. She was met at the airport by me and Dr. Ramzey Tursun who is my tumor and reconstructive fellow. She stayed at my home and enjoyed my family and dogs until her surgery on February 24.

The surgery was straightforward but difficult due to the shear size of the tumor. The tumor was indeed an ameloblastoma which is a benign tumor known to reach a large size. It destroyed about 60% of her lower jaw including the left joint around to the right corner of the mouth. The jaw was reconstructed with a titanium metal plate and a device to create a new joint.

At the time of this writing, Michel is six days out from her surgery and doing quite well."
Robert E. Marx, DDS

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