October 2, 2013
Members of the Vietnamese community have been there to support Phan Thi Ha since her arrive in Buffalo. Cathy Le and Kimberly Phan stayed with her as nurses prepared her for surgery.
Phan Thi Ha, a 26-year-old homeless woman from rural Vietnam, rolled into surgery at about 8 a.m. this morning. The young woman has a large plexiform neoroma nerve-tumor on the left side of her face that she will have removed at no cost thanks to Kenmore Mercy, a member of Catholic Health, and plastic surgeons Federico Doldan, MD, and Jeffrey Meilman, MD, chairman of the board for this Hope For Tomorrow Foundation.
The tumor continued to growth since Ha was a teenager and has caused hearing issues due the displacement of her external ear. The tumor left Ha homeless in Vietnam because of the stigma there surrounding this kind of medical issue.
The doctors will remove the tumor and reconstruct her face during a 5-hour surgery. Nerve tumors can form in the peripheral nerve network anywhere in the body. These tumors often affect the function of the nerve, causing pain and disability.
Dr. Meilman's donation is part of the Hope for Tomorrow Foundation, and would have cost $60,000.
Ha will stay with local Vietnamese families while she prepares for surgery and during her recovery.