Patient Stories

May of 2016 was an exciting time for Tony Rafaniello. Now retired as an assistant principal and basketball coach, Tony and his wife Dale were preparing for a trip to Italy and a cruise around the Isle of Sicily. His mind often drifted to all he would do, see and eat in the weeks ahead. Two days before departure, he woke up with terrible stomach pain. “I was nauseous and throwing up,” Tony says. “My wife’s a nurse at a New Jersey hospital, so we drove there right away.” In the ER, Tony was given some pain medication. Then, suddenly, he passed out. For the next ten days, he was unconscious, breathing with the aid of a ventilator.
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Sylvia George was first diagnosed with advanced localized pancreatic cancer in May of 2017. It started with unexplained back pain, a vague symptom that led Sylvia to make an appointment with her GP. After a CT scan found a spot on her pancreas, the biopsy then confirmed the diagnosis.
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Sick from the age of 4, Daniel had endured 24 operations for Crohn’s disease and recurring hernias, before he found relief thanks to the innovative surgical repairs done by Dr. Yuri Novitsky, director of the Comprehensive Hernia Center. Now in his early 40s, Daniel is making up for lost time.
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Larry Grunfeld was enjoying an active retirement until he was stopped by a large and painful hernia. After minimally invasive surgery pioneered by Dr. Yuri Novitsky, director of the Comprehensive Hernia Center, Larry is back on the golf course and hiking and swimming to his heart’s content.
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Dr. Mark Ginsburg, director of Columbia’s Diaphragm Center and the world’s leading authority on minimally-invasive procedures to restore the function of the phrenic nerve, was able to tighten Charlie’s diaphragm, leaving his lungs more room to expand.
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Thirty-year old Orla Tinsley had already revolutionized care for patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) in Ireland when she came to NYP/Columbia for a lung transplant in 2017.
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Since I was a child, I remember my parents bringing me to a series of doctors to try and find out the cause of my relentless abdominal pain. Unfortunately, no doctor could accurately identify the condition that was causing my symptoms, thus prescribing me wrong and unnecessary medications. This situation went on for years.
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Joe benefits from next generation LVAD and heart transplant
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Haydee Yanesa came to NYP/Columbia from the Philippines after suffering for many years with chronic liver disease. Following the birth of her daughter in 2007, Haydee was told that she had hepatitis B. “My blood work was normal,” Haydee says, “so I didn’t pay any attention to it.”
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On Super Bowl Sunday, 2013, Beverly Farran, a teacher who runs an afterschool program, had a dreadful cold. When her symptoms worsened, she went to a hospital for a chest x-ray. Because Beverly’s stomach hurt, the hospital took another picture and found a tumor on her liver. “I lost confidence in my local doctors,” Beverly says. “I wondered, How could they miss something this serious?”
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