Patient Has Long Term Follow Up Visit

Forty-two years ago, a young Army recruit fell ill while on maneuvers and was brought in by a medic.
He had severe right sided abdominal pain. He was referred to the surgeon who completed his evaluation and told him he needed to have his appendix removed. That was accomplished and at the time of the surgery, the appendicitis appeared to be more extensive than originally thought. As a matter of fact, the appendix had been ruptured with a lot of debris close to the remaining intestine.
The patient got well slowly and just prior to being sent out of the army hospital, the pathology report came back, Cancer.
The surgeon showed up with an army chaplain and informed the patient that he had not only appendicitis but also had a rare condition, cancer of the appendix.
He was told that he would require a second operation, a more extensive operation that would have to remove a section of intestine that was suspicious and also some connective tissue that was attached to it to try to remove every trait of this rare form of cancer.
The procedure was performed and the patient recovered nicely.
The long term question was, “Did we succeed in eradicating this cancer or would it come back?”
We had some good news and that the tumor appeared to be contained within the material sent off to the lab and all of the lymph nodes involved did not contain any cancer. The young recruit went out on a medical disability and he returned to active duty to the Army a year or two later and had an Army career that spanned to 2001. After that, when he became a civilian, he got into law enforcement and just recently, he retired as a police chief in a town of Alabama, where he resides.
Recently, the patient contacted his surgeon and requested a visit. This was arranged and occurred of February of this year 2018.
This patient’s name is Mr. Harvey Mathis (Left) and his surgeon is Major Walter B. Blum (Right), who at the time was a staff surgeon at Martin Army Hospital at Fort Benning. “I can safely say that this is the longest follow-up that I have had on a cancer patient in my career and to this day he is cancer free,” said Dr. Blum.

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