Grateful patient shares how a second opinion saved his life

Lee and his his girlfriend, Lacey, at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center.

Lee and his his girlfriend, Lacey, at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center.

There was an itchy, irritated spot on Lee’s chest that wouldn’t go away. A visit to his local dermatologist in Little Rock, Ark. determined that it was melanoma. The affected cancer area was removed not once, twice but five times. On the fifth time, lymph nodes were also removed. A full body scan indicated that there was a spot in his brain which they would now be treating. Treatments were completed and Lee was informed that he was cancer free.

A month later, Lee developed stomach issues. After a series of tests, he learned that he had 20 tumors in his small intestine, two in his brain and a couple in his left lung. After two years of removing tumors, cancer treatments and a clinical trial, Lee decided it was time to part with his physicians.

And that’s how he met Amin Kassam, MD, Aurora Health Care System Vice President of Neurosciences. An internationally recognized neurosurgeon, Dr. Kassam is instrumental in developing numerous advanced techniques in neurological surgery. He also spearheads the Aurora Neuroscience Innovation Institute at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wis.

Dr. Kassam, along with colleagues George C. Bobustuc, MD, and Kenneth T. Bastin, MD, were the experts who consulted with Lee and performed his surgery. By performing a craniotomy (cutting a bone flap in the skull to allow access to the brain), Dr. Kassam and team was able to extract the tumor from Lee’s brain – a tumor that previous physicians told Lee would be inoperable. Lee spent four days in the hospital recovering from the six-hour brain surgery. After three weeks, he was able to return home to Arkansas.

“The doctors at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center actually cared about what was happening to me and how I was doing. I’ll never find another doctor who is as caring as they are. Dr. Bobustuc actually called me to make sure that I made it home alright. That’s never happened to me before,” said Lee. “I was losing vision in my right eye and couldn’t walk because the pressure in my brain was so bad prior to the surgery. A day after the surgery, I could walk again. I couldn’t be more thankful.”

Donor support of research programs further medical advancements and give people—like Lee—hope. Lee says, “Come to Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center if you want to be treated and live a long life. The physicians and care team assembled are not good or great. They are truly world class.”

Help more people like Lee, and support innovative neurological research at Aurora Health Care. Contact Bridgette Frommell at or call 414-649-3636.



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