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Meet Bereket Ezuz, Grateful Patient

November 2, 2022

“Because of you, I am now able to enjoy time spent at the dinner table, coming together, and sharing more than a meal with my wife and young daughters.”

In 2018, Bereket Ezuz received treatment for Zenker’s diverticulum. If left untreated, he ran the risk of aspiration pneumonia.

 

If you reflect on some of your happiest memories, what would they be? A celebratory meal at your favourite restaurant surrounded by your loved ones? A new dish you tried while travelling? The first meal you shared with your partner, or the look on your child’s face when you brought their birthday cake aglow with candles?

In many cultures, the act of eating with others is a major means of bonding. As someone who was born and raised in Eritrea, Africa, where eating together is so significant that a whole family eats from one plate, you can imagine the physical and emotional pain I endured when I became unable to swallow food and started feeling anxious eating around others.

I had trouble swallowing for a few years, but it wasn’t until 2018 when the strain built to an intolerable level. My family doctor referred me to Dr. Biniam Kidane, a thoracic surgeon at HSC Winnipeg.

After a round of tests, Dr. Kidane discovered I had Zenker’s diverticulum, a pouch that forms at the beginning of the digestive tract. The pouch formed because the muscle between my throat and esophagus would not relax while swallowing. Because of this, food would get stuck in my throat or pouch, causing regurgitation. If left untreated, I ran the risk of aspiration pneumonia—an infection from food and saliva getting trapped in my lungs, choking, malnutrition—among other horrible outcomes.

Dr. Kidane carefully explained my options, and shortly after, he performed a Z-POEM procedure—a new, highly specialized, non-invasive technique. Thanks to Dr. Kidane—a renowned thoracic surgeon and one of the few doctors who perform this procedure in North America—I went home the very next day and regained my ability to eat almost immediately.

Prior to 2018, I would have had open surgery where my neck would have been cut to find the pouch. Thanks to HSC Foundation donors, I received a procedure that was more precise, with less recovery time, fewer complications, less pain—and freed up the operating room and staff resources as this procedure now happens in the donor-funded Wilf Taillieu Thoracic Surgery Clinic and Endoscopy Unit.

Dr. Kidane’s presence put me at ease during this difficult time. He and the health care team were professional and kind—Dr. Kidane even gave me his direct number in case I had any concerns. I am grateful for his work and I am grateful for donors like you who support innovation in health care.

Dr. Biniam Kidane, renowned thoracic surgeon, performed a Z-POEM procedure—a new, highly specialized, non-invasive technique—on Bereket Ezuz.

Because of you, I am now able to enjoy time spent at the dinner table, coming together, and sharing more than a meal with my wife and young daughters. I want others who are suffering to have the improved quality of life that I regained. You can help them.

In June 2022, the HSC Foundation launched Operation Excellence—a campaign that will address the province’s diagnostic and surgical wait list while enhancing HSC’s surgical infrastructure for the long term. This $100 million, six-year capital plan will create more capacity for diagnostic and surgical cases, will use the latest imaging technology, and will use cutting-edge equipment for minimally invasive surgical procedures—just like the kind that cured my condition.

Bereket Ezuz is happy and healthy today thanks to Dr. Biniam Kidane, and donors like you.

My procedure in 2018 wasn’t the first time I needed the compassionate care of HSC, and it may not be my last. Please consider a gift to Operation Excellence today.

Sincerely,

Bereket Ezuz

P.S. Thank you for your past gifts. By becoming a monthly donor or by increasing your current monthly donation by $10, you can make even more of a difference in the lives of the thousands of patients who rely on HSC every year.

 

Your gift today will help HSC continue to provide excellent patient care. To donate, please click here, or call 204-515-5612 or 1-800-679-8493 (toll-free).