PANCREATIC CANCER PATIENT BENEFITS FROM LAPAROSCOPIC WHIPPLE PROCEDURE

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When Charles Bohot started to lose weight and drink an excessive amount of fluids, both of which are symptoms of diabetes, his wife, Isabel, grew concerned. “He has never gone to the doctor,” Isabel Bohot said. “He hates the doctor, but I said ‘listen, we need to address this.’”

After a battery of diagnostic tests, doctors discovered the unexpected: pancreatic cancer. The Bohot’s family friend recommended that they see Manuel Berzosa, M.D., an attending gastroenterologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center – one of the few doctors in Miami-Dade County who could perform an endoscopic ultrasound to get a more precise diagnosis.

“Dr. Berzosa is a very nice man and a really good doctor – very professional,” Bohot said. “We need more doctors like him.”

The endoscopic ultrasound revealed that Bohot had a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor – the same type of cancer that in 2011 claimed the life of Steve Jobs, co-founder and former CEO of Apple Inc. Like Jobs, doctors discovered Bohot’s cancer at a very early stage, but unlike the famed tech innovator, Bohot opted for surgery to remove the tumor.

On July 8, Dr. Kfir Ben-David, vice chair of the Department of Surgery and chief of the Gastroesophageal Surgery Division, performed a laparoscopic Whipple, a complex operation to remove part of the pancreas, part of the small intestine and the gallbladder. The classic Whipple, an open procedure that requires a long, wide incision down the abdomen, is named after Allen Whipple, M.D., a Columbia University surgeon who was the first American to perform the operation in 1935. Unlike the classic procedure, the minimally invasive laparoscopic Whipple is performed through several small incisions, resulting in less blood loss, a shorter hospital stay, a quicker recovery and fewer complications.

That certainly was the case for Bohot, who had the surgery on July 8 and was out of the hospital in six days later, with no complications.

“The whole procedure turned out excellent,” Bohot said. “Dr. Ben-David has magic hands. He’s a rock star.”

The procedure went so well that by August 13, Bohot was enjoying himself on a seven-day cruise with his wife, Isabella.

“He ate, he drank and went on excursions,” Isabella Bohot said of her husband. “I was a little nervous – I said to my husband, ‘please do not eat that much, don’t drink too much because I’ll have to fly Dr. Ben David here to take care of you,’ but nothing happened. He was fine.”