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Darnell Washington - Patient Story

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"I’d heard about Fox Chase, and had a gut feeling that I should go there."

— Darnell Washington, Kidney Cancer Patient

I had severe back pain in 2011 and ended up at a local hospital in Philadelphia. Tests conducted there detected a renal hemorrhage caused by tumors around both of my kidneys. After X-rays and an MRI, an oncologist at the hospital said the tumors were cancerous and that my only option was to have both kidneys removed. I was only 52 years old and would spend the rest of my life on dialysis.

At that point, I needed a second opinion. I had heard about Fox Chase and had a gut feeling I should go there. I made the call and got an appointment with Dr. Robert Uzzo, a surgical oncologist. Dr. Uzzo said the imaging tests were poor and that he couldn’t make a firm diagnosis based on those tests.

He ordered an extensive round of testing that included outpatient biopsies of my kidney masses. I was praying very hard that what the other doctor had said was not true. The first biopsy came back benign and so did the second one. I did not have cancer after all and did not require surgery. By going to Dr. Uzzo, I avoided a very serious surgery that would have impacted the rest of my life. With regular monitoring, I can lead a dialysis-free life.

The other doctor didn’t even offer me a chance. He didn’t do half the things that Dr. Uzzo did. If it weren’t for Dr. Uzzo and his knowledge of these things, I would not have the quality of life I have today.

From the beginning, it was such a good experience for me at Fox Chase. Everyone was so nice and understanding. They made it as easy as possible on me. I really thank God for directing me to Dr. Uzzo and to Fox Chase. It’s a great hospital and Dr. Uzzo is a good man. He breaks everything down to laymen’s terms, and he never made me feel inferior in any way. I consider him both a friend and a great doctor. He has been a blessing in my life.

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