(1st Blog Post by “Bert & I” on Behalf of Hospitalised Ali)
Ali started her day (a beautiful, high pressure spring day here in Kunming) by participating in a meeting held in Dr. Zhu Hui’s office at the Tongren Hospital. Attending, in addition to Dr. Zhu Hui and Ali, were chief neurosurgeon Dr. Liu, Ali’s mother Uschi, her brother Mattias, her father Ralph, and two other members of the neurosurgery team and the chief nurse. Also in attendance by teleconference from Indianapolis was Indiana University Professor Dr. Xiao-Ming Xu, who has played a mission-critical role even well before Ali’s arrival in Kunming.
The hour and a half meeting covered a range of 11 written questions from Ali relating to preparations for surgery as well as post-surgery ICU care.
The quality of patient care here at Kunming Tongren Hospital can only be described as “world-class” … exceeding Ali’s prior experience anywhere else she has been treated since her injury.
In addition to expressing her appreciation to more than a dozen individual members of the local Tongren team, Ali has also asked that we acknowledge three external academic advisors who have played critical roles: to Dr. Wutian Wu, Professor of Neuroscience at Hong Kong University, who first brought Dr. Zhu Hui to the attention of international clinicians and academics; to Dr. Wise Young of Rutgers University, who brought her father to the Kunming PLA (military) hospital in October 2011 to meet Drs. Zhu and Liu; and to Dr. Xiao-Ming Xu of Indiana University and Chairman of the Science Advisory Board of the Sabrina Cohen Foundation.
Ali and members of her immediate family have carefully evaluated the risks of the very complex neurosurgery she will undergo tomorrow (see her post of April 24th for details) and have concluded that the potential advantages outweigh the admittedly considerable risks.
Ali believes that Dr. Liu has more experience with this surgery than any other surgeon who has come to the attention of her family, having performed more than 1,000 spinal cord surgeries during his career and this specific surgery many hundreds of times. She also has the deepest expressible confidence in Kunming team leader Dr. Zhu Hui, with whom Ali has developed a very close relationship.
At the end of the meeting, Dr. Zhu reiterated the risks involved and spelled out four possible outcomes:
- Post-surgery condition significantly better, with relief from increasingly severe neuropathic pain and enhanced prospects of motor function recovery resulting from untethering her spinal cord.
- Post-surgery condition unchanged
- Post-surgery condition worse.
- A mortal outcome.
After confirming that Ali and her family clearly understood these risks, Dr. Zhu asked Ali to sign off on a document acknowledging and accepting a range of potential complications and risks, a summary of which is posted here below.
(CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE)
Ali reviewed this document and agreed to execute it, and with her brother Mattias assisting in the signing “ceremony” Ali executed the documents herself … photos of which follow below.
In preparation for tomorrow’s 5-7 hour surgery, scheduled to commence at 8 a.m., Ali was admitted to hospital this evening (Monday 13th May) for pre-surgery prep. She was initially caught off-guard by a “fine print” detail when her nursing team shaved off half her hair from her neck up to the crown of her head and then braided the remaining golden locks into a Princess Leah style and secured the braids to the what remains of her hair on the top of her head! Bert & I have photos of Princess Ali in her new hairdo but have not yet been able to secure publication rights.
Tomorrow we will bring further news via an intra-day report after Ali is in ICU. The entire surgery will be filmed, as is the custom here in Kunming for post-surgery clinical evaluation, an excerpt of which will be published as soon as possible on China Quad Diaries.