Stone Soup: Surgery for Rebecca

There is no secret, but this is certain: it is only by sharing that we may make a feast
— Stone Soup (Author Unknown)

When unpredictable medical emergencies arise, it truly takes a community of heroes to care for a patient. We are grateful to partner with so many philanthropic physicians and companies who value every single life, offering up their skills and time to see that all patients have access to the care they need.

Rebecca was riding her bike, with her helmet strapped on, when she was struck by a motor vehicle. The car sped off, leaving Rebecca on the ground. Thankfully, she had avoided direct head injury from the impact and did not lose consciousness. The paramedics were called, but Rebecca had managed to stand up and declined the transfer to the hospital.

However, within a few days, she began to experience severe neck pain as well as symptoms from her injuries to her right shoulder and knee. When the ibuprofen was insufficient to stave off the pain, she was forced to check into the Emergency Department to seek help.

Dr. Vokshoor met with Rebecca and, after reviewing the MRI, CT, and x-rays of her neck, he assessed that she was experiencing symptomatic cervical instability. In her case, she needed an Anterior Cervical Discectomy Fusion and Fixation, which is a surgery that would fuse the loose vertebrae in her neck that were pressing against her spinal cord.

In reviewing the patient’s history and documentation, Dr. Vokshoor discovered that Rebecca did not currently have stable housing or the means to pay for her surgery.

It was then up to the INI staff to execute a mission: get Rebecca the surgery she needs. Dr. Vokshoor set the precedent of how this could be accomplished: he would donate his time and expertise to perform the surgery pro bono. Johny, INI's Director of Research and Operations, took point. Through a series of emails and phone calls to various colleagues, hospital coordinators, and companies, a team was quickly assembled. Altogether, the mission was equipped with a neurosurgeon, PA, radiologist, anesthesiologist, neuromonitoring technicians, fully staffed operating room, and donated devices and implants.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Vokshoor without any complications.

Dr. Vokshoor and Johny meeting with Rebecca before her operation.

Dr. Vokshoor and Johny meeting with Rebecca before her operation.

Rebecca 5 month after her operation at Clinic.

Rebecca 5 month after her operation at Clinic.

The last year of my life has been a whirlwind, but I truly believe that you guys were brought into my life for a bigger purpose.

Dr. Vokshoor and INI have been following up with Rebecca regularly at her post-op visits to keep track of her progress. While she still occasionally experiences some pain and spasms in her neck, she is greatly improved with no plans of slowing down. The surgery was only the beginning. The process of healing is a longer journey—one that requires just as much support and strength. We hope to continue supporting Rebecca on her road to recovery.

Many thanks to the following individuals who supported our philanthropic mission by donating their time and effort to help Rebecca get the surgery she needed.

  • Amir Vokshoor, MD

  • Dean Wilson, PA

  • James Burrows, MD (pre-op clearance)

  • Kenneth Sacks, MD (anesthesiologist)

  • Saint John's Health Center

  • Adrienne Schimmel (Bioventus)

  • Julia Kirsch (Renovis)

  • Johny Tran (INI)

Thanks again for everything and your continued support. I truly cannot begin to describe the amount of gratitude I have for you and the entire team!