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June 2nd, 2008
07:38 PM ET

Deciding on a treatment plan

Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

We now know Sen. Ted Kennedy flew down to Durham, North Carolina, over the weekend, and underwent awake brain surgery at 9 Monday morning at Duke. The operation was “successful,” according to his surgeons, and a significant amount of his malignant glioma was removed. The whole thing was a bit of a surprise given that his doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital hadn’t publicly raised the possibility of an operation. They mentioned only chemotherapy and radiation as his options. Clearly, over the last couple of weeks, the senator and his family decided they wanted more. They wanted to fight this tumor, and they talked to experts all over the country and finally decided on Dr Allan Friedman at Duke University Medical Center to help them in his battle.
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Filed under: Dr. Sanjay Gupta • Sen. Ted Kennedy
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. KAB

    Kent -

    It is about all of us..... WE need better health care that is obtainable by all.

    June 3, 2008 at 7:30 am |
  2. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    "All of this got me to thinking: how does the average person make these decisions? How do they decide where they are going to get treated and is it even possible for most to find the “best” in the country? I’m eager to hear your experiences and any tips you might have for fellow bloggers and patients."

    Fitzsimmons, read the whole article before you babble incoherently. It was not about Ted Kennedy, Ted Kennedy. And I'm not paying for everyone to have healthcare. The market can actually work itself out with proper regulation.

    June 3, 2008 at 3:53 am |
  3. Charlene Young

    I greatly appreciate Sen. Kennedy's lifetime of public service and numerous contributions. He certainly is an icon in his own right. I hope for the best outcome and a prolonged life for the famed senator. My one comment about his surgery is, wouldn't it be nice if all Americans had the option to get the very best in medical care like Sen. Kennedy?...not only the extremely rich. It's sad that a middle class American with limited resources probably wouldn't have the option Sen. Kennedy did. (to go to Duke and be operated on by one of the leading neurosurgeons in the country). I mean no offense to the senator by this comment.

    June 3, 2008 at 2:33 am |
  4. Larry

    Tammy, that was quite eloquent; however, we the ordinary citizens will never have access to what any of these 3 senators can take for granted. If only our grandparents had made money the old-fashioned way; bootlegging.

    June 3, 2008 at 12:47 am |
  5. David Schafer

    I think now would be a perfect opportunity for CNN to do some in depth reporting about healthcare and the treatments that Ted Kennedy is receiving. Regardless of political affiliations, Ted Kennedy has been an advocate for healthcare reform and due to his unfortunate illness; a few segments about his treatment(s) and general healthcare issues (including escalating costs offset by state of the art treatments and research) would probably hold most American's attention. I think he and his family would appreciate the effort and his illness could possibly have some sort of positive impact. We have an aging population and I believe that healthcare treatments and subsequent issues would be of interest to most Americans regardless of income, race, religion, etc. Just a thought.

    David Schafer

    June 3, 2008 at 12:09 am |
  6. Raymond Duke Texas

    I think Ted Kennedy 's career is over and everybody cam give him his cheers. Personally I hope he has a long and fruitful life. As a senator I for one won't miss him. I think along with his brother who was president were way over-rated . But saying all that the best to him in his fight with his health.

    June 2, 2008 at 11:14 pm |
  7. Daniel Downey

    I also hope the best for the Kennedy family throughout this difficulty.
    I was surprised that the option of gamma knife surgery was not mentioned as an option for treatment. Perhaps the specific type of tumor Senator Kennedy has precludes this treatment option.

    June 2, 2008 at 10:51 pm |
  8. Kent Fitzsimmons,Illinois

    Berwick...............

    This is about Ted Kennedy..................Ted Kennedy.............not you. If you want better healthcare vote Democrat in November.

    June 2, 2008 at 10:50 pm |
  9. Tim -Henderson, NV

    It's interesting w/ Boston at his footsteps that the Senator chose to go to Duke. This will no doubt place the Duke program in the foreground of most peoples' minds. May God bless Senator Kennedy.

    June 2, 2008 at 10:46 pm |
  10. Chris - Dallas

    Technology in the medicial ifield is amazing ... If you are rich.

    I'm really glad Mr. Kennedy's surgery was a success!
    We need more guys like Ted to help make CHANGE needed for this country.

    June 2, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  11. Annie Kate

    I hope for the best for Senator Kennedy. Despite some of the rough bumps in his past he has been a great legislator for the country and its people and has participated in landmark legislation in the last 40 years. I hope that this surgery improves his prognosis and he will be around for a lot longer.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    June 2, 2008 at 10:10 pm |
  12. Kent Fitzsimmons,Illinois

    He'll be back. It is important to him that Obama be President, and that he be standing by Obama's side when this happens. Oh yes...............politics IS this important to Ted Kennedy.

    June 2, 2008 at 10:07 pm |
  13. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    Senator Kennedy had options a very privileged few in this country are afforded. He had the resources to discover this treatment option in the first place. He had the money and resources to travel to another state for this procedure. He had the insurance to pay for this operation. He has resources to pay for his treatment beyond surgery. He has family support that many people do not. Ted Kennedy is not your average US citizen. He has never known what it's like to not be able to afford cancer treatment of any sort. Many of those people exist sadly without options. Then there are those of us in between who aren't uber wealthy but still can afford insurances and treatments. We're lucky. I pay each month on a cancer policy that will allow me to be treated wherever I need to go should I develop cancer. It will pay for travel, housing, and experimental treatments should they be warranted. I want to be the test guinea if all else fails. With the family history, I figured why gamble and not have a worst case scenario plan in place. My employer offers this option. I would give up something else to pay for this on my own if needed. I watched too many people I love die from this disease fighting with the help of the best hospitals and doctors. I watched too many people I love also beat this disease because of the doctors in those hospitals (my dad, aunt, and family friend). This is too big of a deal to scrimp on. Sadly, many don't have the option for the best care or minimal care even. Hopefully, the senator will remember this when healthcare comes up again in Congress and help provide a means for everyone in this country to receive his level of treatment or even what those of us who have cancer policies are able to afford and get. It's only fair.

    June 2, 2008 at 8:22 pm |