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Mas­sive tu­mor re­moved from woman’s stomach

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - KAYLA ROBINS krobins@cov­news.com

A mas­sive tu­mor was sur­gi­cally re­moved from a New­ton County woman’s stomach Tues­day af­ter sev­eral trips to the emer­gency room led to a dead end and dis­tant surgery date.

Shalonda Pet­t­away said Doris Lewis met Dr. Alan Gor­don the first time she was ad­mit­ted to the ER at Emory Health­care on May 1. The June 10 surgery date was set through Char­ity Care, which ap­proves med­i­cal ser­vices to pa­tients who are unin­sured or un­able to pay.

“As time went by, it started get­ting big­ger and big­ger ev­ery day,” said Pet­t­away, Lewis’s sis­ter-in-law. “The doc­tors said her blood was feed­ing the tu­mor. It was killing her. She needed to get it out as soon as pos­si­ble.”

Since Lewis did not have health in­sur­ance — she had not yet cov­ered her­self af­ter her hus­band died a few years ago — she was un­able to get the tu­mor re­moved sooner dur­ing four sub­se­quent ER trips at Emory or Grady Me­mo­rial Hospi­tal. Pet­t­away said Lewis was sent home each time once her vi­tals re­turned to nor­mal.

Al­though non-can­cer­ous, the tu­mor was be­gin­ning to press on other or­gans. Her pain be­gan to in­crease. Her legs and feet were swollen. She had trou- ble breath­ing. She kept throw­ing up. She couldn’t use the bath­room.

Lewis went into surgery June 10, where Gor­don re­moved the tu­mor and its 28 pounds of fluid.

“We’re just re­lieved that ev­ery­thing went fine be­cause it was a se­ri­ous surgery, and a lot of things could have gone wrong,” Pet­t­away said.

Lewis was trans­ferred out of the ICU into her own room Wed­nes­day, and Pet­t­away said doc­tors and her fam­ily hope she will be re­leased this weekend or early next week.

Pet­t­away was in the room with Lewis when she spoke with The News but said Lewis was un­able to talk as she was in and out of sleep.

“We’re just grate­ful. She’s re­cov­er­ing well,” Pet­t­away said.

Pet­t­away said the ini­tial CAT scan cost $9,000, which Lewis would have had to pay had Char­ity Care not taken her in. They have not been told how much of the surgery costs will be cov­ered.

Any­one wish­ing to help with Lewis’s med­i­cal costs can do­nate to the Doris Lewis Fund at any Wells Fargo branch.

“We just want to thank ev­ery­one for their prayers and well wishes,” Pet­t­away said, “and wish Doris a speedy re­cov­ery.”

Cour­tesy of Shalonda Pet­t­away

Doris Lewis had a tu­mor con­tain­ing 28 pounds of fluid re­moved Tues­day at Emory Health­care in At­lanta.

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