News / Europe

Romanian Girl Gets Life-Altering Surgery

Romanian Andrea Nemethi, 12, speaks with Doctor Aaron Fay, a surgeon at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Romanian Andrea Nemethi, 12, speaks with Doctor Aaron Fay, a surgeon at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary

Multimedia

Kimberly Bookman

At age 4, a Romanian girl was horrified when her right eye began to swell.  Doctors in Andrea Nemethi's homeland told her family she had an inoperable tumor and gave her months to live.  But the diagnosis turned out to be wrong.  As she grew up, the tumor - although benign - continued to grow out.  When it was bigger than a mango, Nemethi flew across the ocean for life altering surgery in Boston, where surgeons removed the tumor and her right eye.

This may look like a normal fitting for eyeglasses.  But for this 12-year old Romanian girl, it's monumental.

"She was different than other children and people behaved differently as well," said her father, Peter Nemethi.

At first, Andrea Nemethi's face wasn't flat enough for glasses.  A rare tumor behind her right eyeball swelled so much, the tumor and eyeball protruded from the socket.

"To give you an idea, I think the tumor was, maybe, probably bigger than most oranges that you see, maybe like two oranges," said Doctor Aaron Fay, a surgeon at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.  "You know, it was a pretty big thing and certainly much too big to fit inside an eye socket."

The tumor was discovered in 2002, when Andrea was 4 years old.  Although it was benign, doctors in Romania delivered grim news.  The family was told it was inoperable.

At school, the bulging tumor made Andrea self-conscious and shy. One of her teachers reached out to foreign doctors for help.

Camille Condon, Director of International Programs at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, received the request just one week after this man died.  Ray Tye was a Boston philanthropist who was dedicated to helping children get the surgeries they needed, by paying for them.

"His passion came from his son who died, I believe of cancer," said Condon.  "And he was devastated that all the money in the world couldn't save his son, and therefore, for his son, he was going to save other lives."

The hospital decided to memorialize Tye by performing a surgery he would have supported.  They chose Andrea.

Dr. Fay, operating for seven hours, was able to save Andrea's eyelid, eye muscles and socket. He removed the tumor and Andrea's eye.

Camelia Rosca, Andrea's host in Boston, says coming to America has transformed the young girl and her family.   

"When you see people care about your child's life, it's been tremendous for the family and for Andrea," said Rosca. "She now behaves just like any pre-teenage girl."

The pre-teen now feels better about herself.  Andrea needs two more procedures before she heads home.

When she goes back to Romania, she says she'll never forget the kindness of strangers.  They too are transformed.

"You know it's quite an emotional experience for me," added Dr. Fay.

Those former strangers say Andrea won a place in their hearts.

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More