On October 25, when Africa Surgery first saw Kadiatu Conteh, a 27 year-old mother of one, we feared that the large tumor that was blocking most of her mouth might kill her. We needed to get her a passport and have her cleared for travel on a commercial flight to Kenya, where her tumor could be excised by surgeon specialists. Fortunately, Dr. Don Davis, the oral surgeon in Freetown, Sierra Leone, determined that because the 14-month old tumor seemed to be benign, it did not involve her bone, jawbone, teeth, or tongue. He could remove it himself. At first, however, it was not possible to operate on her because of the level hemoglobin in her blood.
After lots of liquid dietary supplements and a few blood transfusions, Kadiatu was finally ready for surgery. Her tumor was removed on December 24. Kadiatu will need some further reconstructive surgery, but her prognosis is very good and her gratitude, expressed with few words, is immense.