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Angeles County | Community News File / Exposition Park

Doctors Optimistic After Ethiopian Boy's Operation

January 21, 1998

Doctors were optimistic after removing a life-threatening aneurysm Tuesday from a 10-year-old Ethiopian boy who developed the condition after being struck by a car in August in his native country.

Goitom Fisseha, who overcame financial obstacles to come to the United States for surgery, was originally believed to have a fistula in his right carotid artery, which threatened to destroy his eyesight, Dr. George Teitelbaum said.

But on Monday, doctors at USC University Hospital discovered that the fistula had spontaneously healed and a potentially deadly aneurysm had developed.

"By a stroke of luck, we noticed something on his angiogram yesterday that led us to believe that we had a pseudo-aneurysm or mass that was developing off of the carotid artery," Teitelbaum said.

Fisseha's mother placed an ad in an Ethiopian newspaper shortly after the accident, asking for help in financing her son's trip to this country. An anonymous donor responded and paid 75% of the boy's air fare, family spokeswoman Michelle Lawrence said.

Fisseha's uncle, Yergalem Selassie of San Gabriel, spoke to the boy's mother by phone after the surgery.

"She couldn't believe it," he said. "She is so happy."

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