The Doctors reveal survival stories and medical miracles you have to see to believe.
“Today’s guests are considered miracles by many, and it goes to show the extraordinary nature of the human will to survive,” E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork says. “If you or someone you love seems to be facing a dim medical future, don’t give up.”
• Just for fun: Anatomy you can eat!
Smiling from Ear to Ear
In a The Doctors exclusive, when skin cancer destroyed Sherrie’s ear, modern medicine helped her grow a new one – on her arm.
Sherrie says after visiting her dermatologist about a scab on her inner ear, she was quickly diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, a slow-growing, nonmelanoma form of skin cancer. Ears are the third most common location for the illness.
“I was devastated, I was shocked,” Sherrie says. “It spread through my ear and my neck and my lymph nodes. I had 36 lymph nodes, my eardrum and half my ear removed. The surgery took 16 hours.”
Facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Patrick Byrne performed Sherrie’s groundbreaking ear replacement procedure, which began in her left forearm.
“Dr. Byrne was definitely committed to doing a lot of surgeries,” Sherrie continues. “The first step was putting a tissue expander in my arm to make it big enough to have an ear put inside of it.”
“My Cancer Saved His Life”
They say everything happens for a reason, and when husband Bud decided to shave his head in solidarity with his breast cancer-stricken wife, Dolly, he quickly realized his haircut was nothing short of a lifesaving miracle.
After Bud made the decision to shave his head for Dolly, his family noticed a large, black spot on his scalp.
“I got it checked and two or three days later, [doctors] said it was malignant melanoma,” Bud says. “Two days later, the doctor had me in surgery, then removed it from the top of my head.”
“The doctors said, ‘You really don’t know how lucky you are,’” Dolly adds. “By the time Bud would have shown symptoms, it would have been too late, and it could have been fatal to him by Christmas.”
“My cancer saved his life,” she says.
Breast Milk World Record
Alicia Richman, a 28-year-old mom from Granbury, Texas, holds the world record for donating the most breast milk to premature infants in need. So far, she’s donated 87 gallons to Mother’s Milk Bank of North Texas, which has helped hundreds of critical and premature infants. Just 1 ounce of breast milk will feed a preemie three times.
• Learn more about milk banks in your area by visiting the Human Milk Banking Association of America at www.hmbana.org
Fecal Transplant Miracle
Tatum rescued her 2-year-old son, Jesse, from losing his life by allowing her own stool to be transplanted into his intestines. To date, Jesse is the youngest person ever to receive a fecal transplant.
Born as a micro-preemie weighing merely 2 pounds 1 ounce, Jesse suffered respiratory issues, which often landed him in the E.R.
However, Tatum noticed another perturbing problem while changing Jesse’s diaper.
“By his first birthday we noticed something was seriously wrong,” Tatum says. “Instead of having stool we had a diaper full of blood.”
Jesse was ultimately diagnosed with C-diff, a bacterium related to another bacterium that causes botulism and can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening colon inflammation. When the bacteria’s spores are ingested, they produce toxins that attack the lining of the intestines and destroy the cells inside the colon. If not treated promptly, it can be fatal.
“The doctor told us the last option we had was a fecal transplant where they would take stool from me and transfer it to Jesse,” Tatum explains.
"Since the fecal transplant, Jesse has been doing great. He’s the toughest boy I know,” Tatum reports.
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