A chance encounter saves a young man's life

CAMDEN, N.J. - August 10, 2011

It started in late February, when a construction worker accidentally broke a sprinkler pipe at Cooper University Hospital.

A flood of water damaged the operating rooms, but for 20-year-old Matthew Kiseliewski, it was a blessing.

A few weeks later, operating room technician Renee Bekier, was walking down the hall when she spotted Matthew, her son's best friend, on the cleanup crew.

"I looked into this office, and I saw him," said Renee.

While they chatted outside the office, Dr. Allen Turtz, a neurosurgeon, passed by and noticed something troubling about Matthew.

"He had a large forehead, he had a large jaw, he had very big hands," Dr. Turtz said.

"Dr. Turz came out to me and said, 'Do you know that young man?' I said, 'Yeah, he's my son's best friend.' He said, 'Is there a way I can get in touch with him?" explained Renee.

The two of them caught up with a very surprised Matthew by the elevator.

"She was like, 'This is Dr. Turtz.' And he said, 'Can I see your hands?'" said Matthew.

What Dr. Turtz spotted were signs of acromegaly. It's a condition in which the body generates too much growth hormone.

The outward signs include enlarged bones of the hands, feet, and face, especially the jaw, and excessive height.

The hormone surge can also do inner damage.

"They develop sleep apnea, they can have serious problems with their heart, and they develop diabetes, colon polyps," said Dr. Turz.

Blood tests confirmed the doctor's suspicions.

"My growth hormone was off the charts," said Matthew. "It was like double what it was supposed to be."

In Matthew's case, it was a tumor on his pituitary gland that put his growth hormones into overdrive.

In May, he had brain surgery to remove the tumor. His mother noticed changes right away.

"Two days after the surgery, you could see a difference in his facial features," said Dolores Kisielewski.

His hands have also slimmed, and he says his mood is calmer.

Everyone is still shaking their heads as to how it all happened.

"It's just bizarre," Matthew said.

"It's nothing but, I believe, divine intervention," said Renee.

Dr. Turtz doesn't think Matthew has suffered any permanent internal damage, but he will be watched closely in the future, and may need medication to keep his hormone levels down.

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