When Long Island pathologist David Elkowitz, DO, was referred to Stony Brook’s Henry Tannous, MD, for a cancerous mass surrounding many vessels and organs in his chest, Elkowitz had little reason to be hopeful. The mass, he had been told by others, was inoperable.
But Tannous, holder of the General Ting Feng Cheng Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery, believed otherwise. A renowned expert in the research and treatment of thoracic tumors, Tannous assured Elkowitz that he could indeed perform the surgery needed to remove the tumor.
“With a firm but quiet confidence, Henry told me he could perform the surgery I needed,” Elkowitz recalls. “He explained in great detail what he would do and how he would handle possible complications. From that moment, I implicitly trusted him.”
During an eight-hour procedure, Tannous and his team not only removed the entire mass, but they also preserved vital structures in Elkowitz’s chest that were seemingly irreparable. Elkowitz was astonished. “Not only would my life go on, but it would continue as it had for the many years prior to my disease,” he says.
With deep gratitude for Tannous’ “unique combination of skill, compassion and professionalism … and unreplicable talent,” Elkowitz and his wife created the David and Stephanie Elkowitz Fund for Excellence in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery.
The Elkowitzes’ gift will go a long way toward expressing their gratitude. This vital funding gives Tannous the financial flexibility to keep his team at the forefront of best practices, the latest research and new surgical techniques that will lead to better outcomes.
In a year of extraordinary challenges, alumni and friends came together in a remarkable way to support our students, faculty, healthcare workers and patients. For a wider view at the vast impact of your support, take a look at this year’s Stony Brook Foundation Annual Report to Donors.