In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

August 14, 2018

Search for Hope has a Happy Ending at Mayo Clinic

By In the Loop

Mikail Mamedov had lived with a large mass on his back since birth. He was told having it removed would be too risky — until he met a surgeon at Mayo who found an answer.

Since birth, Mikail Mamedov had lived with a large benign mass on his lower back caused by neurofibromatosis, a rare genetic disease. Over the years, doctors had discouraged him from having it removed due to the excessive bleeding they said it could cause. But then one referred him to Mayo Clinic, where he came under the care of Samir Mardini, M.D., chair of Mayo's Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

"I knew right away during my initial consultation with Dr. Mardini that both he and Mayo Clinic were different," Mikail tells us. "Instead of simply examining me and telling me nothing could be done to safely remove the mass — like so many others had — he started making phone calls to specialists throughout Mayo to determine if anything could be done."

Dr. Mardini came back to Mikail with an answer that was different, too. "After determining they could in fact control any bleeding issues, Dr. Mardini performed my initial surgery in April," Mikail tells us. After follow-up procedures, Mikail says, "Everything has gone great. Dr. Mardini was able to safely remove about 90 percent of the mass."

In doing so, Dr. Mardini has given him 100 percent of his life back, Mikail says. "I feel a lot lighter, to be honest. I've lost weight, and when I go to the gym now it's an entirely different experience. I don't feel this large mass on my lower back anymore, and I can't tell you how great that is."

He did, however, make sure to tell Mayo's Office of Patient Experience just how life-changing his experience was. Our friends there tell us that when Mikail stopped by to share his story with them, he was overcome with emotion as he described the outstanding care he received and how his entire team lived up to Mayo's values and reputation.

And not just because they were able to do what so many others said couldn't be done, but because of the way they cared for and supported him along the way. "Everyone I've met at Mayo is absolutely fabulous and has gone out of their way to treat me like family," Mikail says. "I felt a real sense of teamwork and dedication to my overall health from everyone involved in my care. Everyone from the nursing staff, residents, social workers and staff physicians went out of their way to check in on me regularly and make sure I was OK."

He also wanted them to know that Dr. Mardini "is not only a fabulous surgeon, but he's also a great guy. He's very caring and compassionate, as is everyone else on my care team."

Everyone, he says, from the nurse who searched online for places in Rochester that could accommodate Mikail's temporary wheelchair needs, to fifth-year resident Saad Alsubaie, M.B.B.S., who came back to check on Mikail even after his shifts had ended.

While his team appreciates the kind words, they say that's how they hope to treat everyone. "Honestly, it's no different from what my colleagues at Mayo Clinic do for our patients every day," Dr. Alsubaie tells us. "We treat and care for patients like they're our own family. Mr. Mamedov received the same level of care I would have given to my own brother, and the same can be said of any care provider at Mayo Clinic."

And that, Mikail tells us, is what makes Mayo Clinic so special. "My entire care team lived up to Mayo's values and world-class reputation," Mikail says. "I'm eternally grateful for that."

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Tags: Dr. Saad Alsubaie, Dr. Samir Mardini, Patient Stories, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

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