It’s the quiet you notice as Joseph and Kathy Molinari take a winter stroll. It’s been quiet for some time since Joe lost his voice. Not long ago, Joe was fighting something unseen. His swollen mouth was the first indication that something was wrong.
The doctors he visited – and there were many – were confounded. A few thought it was an abscess, but no one could offer them the expertise they needed. That is, until they found themselves at the Brownstone Clinic at Hartford Hospital, which welcomes the most vulnerable citizens in our community in need of adult primary and specialty care and also dental care.
Images taken there revealed something much worse than an abscess – it was a tumor called an ameloblastoma.
Ameloblastomas begin in the jaw, and can even extend to the floor of the orbit, which involves the eye. In Joe’s case, it had been growing like this for years.
That’s when the Brownstone team mobilized. Joe’s life was on the line, but he needed the generosity of an entire team to help him through. Surgeons, oncologists, nurses and others offered their time time, talent and training free-of-charge. Hartford Hospital took care of the rest.
Surgery to remove the tumor was led by Hartford Hospital surgical oncologist Dr. Robert Piorkowski and assisted by a tremendous team of specialists. The surgery was intense, lasting several hours. But once completed, the tumor was gone for good.
That’s where Peter Pasciucco, Hartford Hospital’s chief of dentistry and oral maxillofacial surgery, took over Joe’s care. He led an all-volunteer team of oral surgery residents to help rebuild his upper palate and restore Joe’s ability to talk. That’s when they heard gratitude in his voice.
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Joe said.
“When a patient like Joe comes in, he smiles,” said Dr. Pasciucco. “It makes this job the best job in the world.”
Learn more about the Hartford Hospital Brownstone Ambulatory Care Clinic here.