New Zealand

A Papua New Guinea boy saved by an Auckland surgeon, now dreaming of becoming a doctor

Kevin admits that his caregiver Wayne Brewer lived in New Zealand. In New Zealand, I dream of becoming a life-saving surgeon one day.Photo / Alex Burton

At the age of 14, he was expected to die in Papua New Guinea. Instead, an Auckland surgeon worked to save his life when no one else could. Kevin Tabil shares his story of hope with the Weekend Herald.

Kevin Tavir lay down on a seriously ill concrete veranda for 6 months. There were days when I trembled and days when I sweated. The mother was holding her hand for comfort.

The Port Moresby Hospital in Papua New Guinea had no beds and no doctor could treat him.

The growth between the eyes of a 14-year-old boy spread throughout the skull, causing severe headaches, dizziness, stuffy nose, and slow killing.

In his village on Rabaul, where there was no running water or electricity, he had a hard time seeing nearby chickens roaming through coffee and vanilla crops. He could not hear the iron school bells ringing in the distance, nor could he smell the salty sea air.

Outside the hospital, he was unaware that the dying patient was awkwardly pushing the IV drip across the gravel road towards the food truck.

Kevin Tabil, 17, thought he would die in Papua New Guinea. Now I dream of becoming a life-saving surgeon.Photo / Alex Burton
Kevin Tabil, 17, thought he would die in Papua New Guinea. Now I dream of becoming a life-saving surgeon.Photo / Alex Burton

His mom continued to have hope, but Kevin, the youngest of seven children, gave up. He said survival was out of reach.

“People started to say goodbye to me, they were hoping I would die,” Kevin told the weekend proclamation.

“Many people around me have been waiting and died.”

TThe hat was three years ago. Kevin is now 17 years old, a scholarship student at Wesley College in South Auckland, and dreams of becoming a surgeon like the Starship Hospital that saved his life one day.

“I remember the day when a woman came to me and my mother, saying there was a doctor in New Zealand who wanted to help me,” Kevin said.

Kevin admits that his caregiver Wayne Brewer lived in New Zealand. In New Zealand, I dream of becoming a life-saving surgeon one day.Photo / Alex Burton
Kevin admits that his caregiver Wayne Brewer lived in New Zealand. In New Zealand, I dream of becoming a life-saving surgeon one day.Photo / Alex Burton

“I said,’New Zealand, oh, where is this?’ It was exciting, but at the same time scary.”

When Kevin’s tragic words reached Rotary Oceania Medical Assistance for Children (Romak), charities agreed to take him to New Zealand and pay for his surgery. Romac is a New Zealand charity that helps children in the Pacific Islands access life-saving surgery that is not available in their own country.

Wayne Brewer, a member of Romak, now Kevin’s caregiver, hosted the teen and his mother Veronica in Auckland.

“I remember Veronica saying,’I don’t know how to find a way around here.’ She said,’Put me in the bush and never get lost, but here I’m completely lost. “, Said Brewer.

Starship Hospital was a maze to Kevin: “I’ve never seen anything like that.”

“I was really impressed by the kindness of the nurse. I felt like,’People who go home should see this.'”

Doctors have discovered that Kevin suffers from a rare condition called juvenile angiofibroma. This is a non-cancerous growth that, if left untreated, will kill him slowly and painfully within a few months. This condition is most common in teenage boys.

An MRI scan of the upper part of Kevin's skull before his surgery.Photo / Attachment
An MRI scan of the upper part of Kevin’s skull before his surgery.Photo / Attachment

“It wasn’t easy to find a surgical team that would be happy to take on Kevin’s advanced cases, but two Auckland surgeons, Dr. Richard Douglas and Dr. Peter Heppner, said,” We’re hard, we bring it. ” Said.

Kevin said he remembers being taken to the operating room.

“”[Doctors] Told my mother [and Brewer] They couldn’t get through, and that was when tears began to roll in my eyes. “

It may have been the last time he saw them.

TIn his surgery, the camera was inserted into Kevin’s groin and into the area of ​​growth in his head.

The device rose through the nasal cavity, and Douglas and his team removed the tumor very slowly.

The surgeon had to be very careful not to hit the wrong blood vessel. Doing so can blind him, cause a stroke, or even kill him.

“It’s so moving that I can’t talk enough about Richard Douglas,” Brewer said.

The first surgery had to be discontinued due to frequent bleeding, the second could only remove 50% of the tumor, and the 12-hour final surgery removed the remaining 95%.

MRI scan of the upper skull after three Kevin surgeries.Photo / Attachment
MRI scan of the upper skull after three Kevin surgeries.Photo / Attachment

Kevin was then introduced to Dr. Anthony Falkov of Auckland Radiation Oncology (ARO), who completely eradicated growth with 22 doses of radiation.

Veronica couldn’t sit still in the hospital while Kevin had her last surgery, so Brewer took her to Parnell Rose Garden. There she happened to run into the wives of two neurosurgeons who were on vacation from the Netherlands to New Zealand.

“Three women spoke, prayed, and cried. It was the most emotional and amazing experience to see,” Brewer said.

SAfter surgery, his eyes were retracted, but his eyesight did not return to his left eye. He no longer experiences dizziness, headaches, or stuffy nose.

“Standing here today makes a lot of sense to me. It gives me the courage to help others.”

Kevin, who claims to be a cheeky boy who is always in trouble, says, “I see doctors and medical personnel working hard, and I feel that I have to work hard.”

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only hardship for Kevin’s family. In Papua New Guinea, a complication of type 2 diabetes required amputation of the father’s leg. He died last August.

Veronica and Kevin’s older brothers remain in Papua New Guinea, but he continues to complete schooling in New Zealand under the care of Brewer.

Kevin says that one day he will become a surgeon and help save lives.

“I know what it is to suffer, and I want to make sure that others don’t have to suffer like I do.”

Meanwhile, he continues to give hope to his family and friends who go home.

“Most people in my village see it, but for them the dream doesn’t come true. When I see them giving up, I sometimes cry,” he said.

“Many people ask how I got here. They give me a lot of support and give me hope.”

A Papua New Guinea boy saved by an Auckland surgeon, now dreaming of becoming a doctor

SourceA Papua New Guinea boy saved by an Auckland surgeon, now dreaming of becoming a doctor

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