Three Weeks, 24 Life-Changing Surgeries at JHAH

Some rare or complex health conditions require specialized expertise or technologies that aren’t (yet) available locally. But whenever possible, patients benefit from receiving care in a setting near home with loved ones there for support.

In a span of three weeks, 24 patients at Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare (JHAH) received life-changing — even life-saving — treatments close to home with the comfort of family and friends nearby, thanks to the Johns Hopkins Medicine On-Site Program.

Through this program, JHM physicians participate in medical rotations at JHAH to provide direct patient contact, including by performing patient surgeries, reviewing complex cases, and providing patient consultations and second opinions.

Here are examples of how JHM physicians participating in this program are changing patients’ lives at JHAH:

  • Wojtek Mydlarz, Johns Hopkins’ director of head and neck surgery for the Washington, DC, region, performed an eight-hour surgical resection for a patient with advanced thyroid cancer. It was an extremely complex case that otherwise would have required referral to another hospital.
  • Michael Schweitzer developed one of the very first laparoscopic bariatric surgery programs in the United States and now directs the Johns Hopkins Center for Bariatric Surgery, where more than 5,000 patients have received treatment over the past 22 years. During his most recent clinical rotation at JHAH, Dr. Schweitzer performed eight gastric bypass surgeries and one sleeve gastrectomy to help patients achieve a healthier weight and defy the odds in Saudi Arabia, where one in three adults is obese.
  • Mehran Habibi, medical director of the Johns Hopkins Breast Center, recently participated in the program and performed 11 surgeries that combine the latest plastic surgery techniques with breast surgical oncology. These treatments are critical in Saudi Arabia, where breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for women and accounts for nearly one-third of all new cancer diagnoses.
  • Mark Duncan, a Johns Hopkins gastrointestinal surgical oncologist, performed three complex surgeries: two complicated cases of colorectal cancer and the removal of a retroperitoneal sarcoma, an abnormal and rare tumor that develops inside the back of the abdominal cavity and often grows quite large, shifting organs out of its path, before being discovered and treated.

JHM clinicians like these see high volumes of cases from around the world, including rare and complex cases most physicians might never see during their careers. They are uniquely qualified — and, as the on-site program proves, incredibly willing — to share their wealth of knowledge and depth of expertise to help JHAH in its journey to create an integrated health organization that addresses patients’ most pressing health challenges.