Mohammed Chaudry’s father was not one to give up. Born in Pakistan in August 1947 — on the very day Pakistan and India legally came into existence as two self-governing countries — he eventually emigrated to Baltimore, where he raised four children and lived the American Dream.
He approached life with a resolute work ethic and perseverance that served him well for nearly two decades following a metastatic prostate cancer stage IV diagnosis that might have caused another person to lose hope much sooner.
When his cancer metastasized and surgeons at not just one, but two highly acclaimed hospitals in his hometown of Baltimore told him there was nothing more that could be done to alleviate his pain, the family turned to Christiana Care Health System and found hope.
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Chaudry, who is a vascular surgeon at Christiana Care’s Center for Heart & Vascular Health, recently presented a gift to Christiana Care in gratitude for the care and compassion provided by the extraordinary nurses on the Transitional Surgical Unit, where his father spent nearly two weeks last summer. The gift also acknowledges Raafat Abdel-Misih, M.D., Christiana Care’s chief of Surgical Services and vice chair of the Department of Surgery, who is also director of the Hepatobiliary Pancreatic Multidisciplinary Center at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute.
“Christiana Care and Dr. Abdel-Misih listened to our wishes and offered my father a surgical exploration for the cause of the obstruction that two Baltimore hospitals would not,” said Dr. Chaudry. “Christiana Care got him through the operation, helped him to heal and gave him the most meaningful couple of months of his life.”
Dr. Chaudry said the experience as son instead of surgeon during his father’s final hospitalizations has changed his own surgical practice.
“Just because the odds are not high does not mean you don’t try,” he said. “My father’s story has allowed me to be even more empathetic with my patients’ wishes.”
Night and day for nearly two weeks, he witnessed firsthand the remarkable way the Christiana Care nurses worked with his father, helping him walk and do the things he needed to do to get better. Eventually, with their help, the elder Chaudry, who maintained a fighting spirit to the very end, recovered well enough to return to his home in Baltimore.
Nicholas Petrelli, M.D., Bank of America endowed medical director of the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute, also offered genetic sequencing to explore targeted therapy. The family knew placing hope in genetic markers was a longshot, but Dr. Chaudry said his father was still of the opinion that he had it in him. He did not want to leave any stone unturned and held out hope right until his father’s passing.
Dr. Chaudry said his father lived as if he had his entire life in front of him.
“He always felt strongly about the sanctity of life. He taught us to try our best not just to save lives, but to stay healthy,” he said. True to that, his father fought to the very end, he said.
“My family is grateful to Christiana Care for giving him that opportunity when no other health system would.”