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CyberKnife Center of Miami Lends a Hand

Who would’ve guessed that among all the tragic injuries and infectious diseases resulting from Haiti’s earthquake that a brain tumor patient would be treated along the way? The CyberKnife Center of Miami is helping out by donating the treatment, care, lodging, and expenses for a young Haitian nurse with a pituitary gland tumor.

Originally treated for her tumor with surgery in California, Jeannine Occenac required post-operative treatment of a very precise nature – radiosurgery performed by the CyberKnife. Her surgeon, Dr. Stephen Lockheart of Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, called Dr. James G. Schwade, director of the CyberKnife Center of Miami, for a favor.

So without hesitation, Dr. Schwade agreed to coordinate her care and get her the final treatment she needed to be well. All of Jeannine’s medical treatment has been done pro bono. “We’re glad we could do our part to aid the Haitian earthquake victims,” said Dr. Schwade, “even if it’s in this round-about way!”

The CyberKnife system uses image-guided robotics to precisely and non-invasively destroy tumors and other lesions with multiple beams of high-energy radiation. Each individual beam is not sufficient to cause harm; it's the cumulative effect that results in the lesion receiving a very high dose of radiation while preserving nearby normal tissue.

Because of the sub-millimeter clinical accuracy, CyberKnife radiosurgery is precise enough that radiation can be matched to the shape of small, complex tumors located near critical structures.

Jeannine arrived this week for pre-treatment care and will be treated with the help of Dr. Andre Abitbol and the CyberKnife Center of Miami team on Monday, November 1. Jeannine has been working in Haiti as nurse at the St. Nicholas Hospital in St. Marc, Haiti.

She met Dr. Lockheart while they performed medical care together post-disaster and he diagnosed her with the brain tumor. She will experience little to no side effects and should be able to go back to work as soon as she returns to Haiti.