A 10-YEAR-OLD Congolese boy whose life was saved when a Valencian humanitarian foundation removed a humungous tumor from his face has died on return to his country of origin.
Emmanuel was last month flown in to see Manises-based surgeon Pedro Cavadas – of the Pedro Cavadas Foundation – after suffering five years with a craniofacial tumor than grew larger than his own head.
“There’s no life in this boy. He’s been condemned to a rapid and horrific death,” Cavadas said before two gruelling 10-hour interventions that succeeded in removing the ‘largest tumor’ he had ever seen.
But the miracle was short-lived. Less than a month after receiving his second chance in life, Emmanuel died on board a flight from Madrid to Casablanca.
Authorities investigating the boy’s death after an emergency landing in Malaga last Friday, January 31, confirmed he ‘choked to death’ after suffering a massive haemorrhage in his mouth.
“The news has rocked our worlds,” Cavadas said. “I’ve reviewed a thousand times, to the millimetre, of every detail of the treatment, and I don’t know what I could have done differently.”
He added he had said goodbye to Emmanuel on the Thursday, and found him in an ‘excellent’ and ‘jovial’ mood after his scars had healed enough for him to go home and be with his four siblings in the Congo.
“It will take a lot of time to recover from this tragedy, especially after everything pointed to a happy ever-after,” Cavadas said. “All deaths hurt, but with patients of the Foundation, they hurt a lot more.”
The Pedro Cavadas Foundation was set up in 2003 with the goal of providing modern reconstructive surgery to underprivileged patients of African countries.
Emmanuel’s father reportedly spent five years going from hospital to hospital to heal his child, until a humanitarian agency put the family in touch with Dr Cavadas.