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The Tale of My

IRONIC CURE Dr. Scott e. Strome

University of Maryland School of Medicine


ho does Jazzy the boxer puppy have to thank for his next birthday? In large part, Dr. Scott E. Strome, a cancer surgeon more accustomed to healing humans. And thanks to Strome, his owner is a lucky dog, too.

It was at a Bar Mitzvah that Strome ran into a friend, veterinarian Jonathan Kaufman. Kaufman had a rare case: A cancerous tumor in the left cheek of a puppy. He planned to operate to remove the tumor, but asked Strome, who is chairman of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, for his help in the operation. “I thought about it, and said ‘Sure,’” Strome says. “I have two dogs of my own at home, and the night before the operation, I’m

+ “basically, his dog saved his life,” says strome.

looking them over trying to figure out how to do a maxillectomy [removal of cheek bone] on a dog.” The next day at Eastern Animal Hospital, Kaufman had the anesthesia going, and Strome took the lead in the tumor removal. (Both had volunteered their time.) “I remember I was kind of amused because I’m waiting to be passed instruments when I ask for them, and Dr. Kaufman says, ‘Sorry, this is a vet’s office. Nobody’s going to hand you anything. You have to get your own scalpel.’ “Anyway, the operation went smoothly, but I was struck by the differences between animal and people hospitals. For a person after such an operation, they’d be on a feeding tube and their vital signs monitored for three to five days in the hospital. So I call up the vet the next day and ask, ‘How’s Jazzy?’ “‘Oh, I sent her home with instructions for a soft diet and no chewy toys,’ Dr. Kaufman replied. I thought that was hilarious,” says Strome. But it was immediately after the operation that the plot thickened: “Jonathan introduced me to the owners, the Budreskis, and I noticed that on Charles Budreski’s face was what looked like skin cancer. I said, ‘You should really come into the clinic to get it checked out.’” Budreski, 63, of Southeast Baltimore, came into Strome’s office two weeks later. Strome took his history, realized he was a longtime smoker, then noticed something else: An early lesion in his tonsil. “I told him I was less concerned about the skin cancer and more worried about the tonsil cancer. A biopsy confirmed it was cancer, but because it had been caught so early, it was treatable. After 33 radiation treatments over several weeks at UMMC, Budreski was on the mend. “Basically, his dog saved his life,” says Strome. And Jazzy? “She would have died, but she’s doing great now,” he says. “Her face is a little asymmetrical [because of the tissue and bone removed on the left side], but she’s growing fine. So the patient’s doing well and the dog is doing well.” ——Ken Iglehart

And Jazzy’s fine, too: Veterinarian Dr. Kaufman, left, patient Budreski, and Dr. Strome with the healthy boxer.


/ / november 2010


DR. SCOtt E. StROmE 154 / / november 2010 surgeon more accustomed to healing humans. And thanks to Strome, his owner i...