The Visit That Saved A Life
For Immediate Release
Contact: Kathie Graham, Director of Communications and Public Affairs
A quick motorcycle tour of the Napa Valley with a friend seemed like a great way for Michael Hills, 58, to enjoy a beautiful morning last spring. Sudden, severe abnormal pain and dizziness, however, forced Hills to lie down by the side of the road while his friend sought help.
Because of persistent back pain and a feeling that something wasn’t quite right, Hills had already slowed his busy schedule as a strategic marketing consultant and father of two. He’d seen his regular integrative physician, but the four hours spent lying by the side of the road convinced Hills he needed better physician care.
A Novato Resident, Hills decided to search physicians on Novato Community Hospital’s website and was impressed by board-certified internist and pediatrician Tareq Elqousy, MD. During the initial appointment, Dr. Elqousy noticed a mass in Hill’s abdomen and ordered lab tests and a computed tomography (CT) scan to determine the cause. The abnormal lab results and confirmation of the mass led the doctor to immediately refer Hills for specialized care.
“Periodic health checks are extremely important,” said Dr. Elqousy. “Patients shouldn’t dismiss symptoms. Hills’ abdominal bloating could have easily been dismissed as something an antacid could fix.”
An endoscopic stomach biopsy by gastroenterologist Stephen DeNigris, MD, followed, and Gregg Jossart, MD, a Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation Surgeon at NCH, removed a large tumor and sections of Hills’ colon, intestines and stomach less than three weeks after Hills’ first visit to Dr. Elqousy, Laboratory results confirmed Dr. Elqousy and Dr. Jossart’s suspicions, and Hills was diagnosed with an extremely rare gastrointestinal stromal tumor.
“What stands out to me is the medical precision and rapidity with which this team of deeply experienced physicians provided diagnosis and treatment of an extremely rare cancer,” said Hills, who remained in the hospital for 11 days and is now taking oral chemotherapy under the care of oncologist David R. Minor, MD. “The physicians employed the latest medical technology and treatment protocols and their wisdom and intuition from years of experience helped dramatically reduce my stress and anxiety.
“The compassion of the doctors and caregivers at the Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation and the California Pacific Medical Center was truly amazing,” Hills remembered. “This experience has changed my life—a life restored by a team of remarkable individuals.”
A recent CT scan revealed that Hills’ tumor is now gone.
To find a primary care physician at Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation, visit www.sutterpacific.org
About Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation
Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides patient care through its affiliation with three medical groups. Our 230+ physicians offer primary, specialty and complex medical care throughout San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma and Lake Counties, as well as at outreach clinics in Northern California and Nevada. Our physicians are dedicated to excellent patient care, combining the latest in medical knowledge and technology with a personal touch. Sutter Pacific physicians are part of the Sutter Medical Network and provide hospital services at Sutter Health hospitals. Additionally, our San Francisco-based physicians are part of Brown & Toland Physicians. For more information or to find a doctor near you, visit www.sutterpacific.org or call 1-888-699-DOCS (3627).