Thursday, September 23, 2010

Woman 'Cut in Half:' Journalistic Hyperbole, Remarkable Account

"Miracle mom: Mayo surgeons cut her in half, cleared out her cancer"
Carol Sanders, Winnipeg Free Press (September 22, 2010) (Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 18, 2010)

"Manitoban Janis Ollson and family are in magazine ads for the esteemed Mayo Clinic for a very good reason: she's the first person surgeons cut in half, removed much of a cancerous midsection, then put back together with a happy ending.

"On Friday, the Balmoral, Man., woman was at her daughter's school to talk to students about Sunday's Terry Fox Run, and how funds raised for cancer research are keeping people like her alive.

"Three years ago, the 31-year-old was pregnant with her second child and had been suffering years of horrible back pain when Canadian doctors diagnosed her with bone cancer, chondrosarcoma...."

Leiland, Janis Ollson's son, is okay: he was delivered by C-section.

Janis Ollson is okay too, for the time being: although Doctors at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota, removed her lower spine, the left half of her pelvis, and her left leg.

"...Ollson became the first person to receive a 'pogo stick' rebuild, with her one good leg fused to her body with the reshaped bone from the amputated leg...."

The Winnipeg Free Press article doesn't say so, but my guess is that tap dancing is out for Jannis Ollson. Apart from that, though, she's doing pretty well:

"...Three years later, she is alive and kickin' -- snowmobiling and grocery shopping -- with her husband and two kids on their half acre in Balmoral.

" 'Where we live, we use ATVs and snowmobiles. I use my ATV to take my daughter to school... There really isn't a whole lot that stops me,' she said...."

As for being "cut in half?" Well, sort of. In a way. Separating a leg, removing quite a bit of the lower torso, and reattaching the leg using parts from the other leg - maybe "cut in half" isn't entirely journalistic hyperbole.


Brigid said...

Replace the 'y' with a 't' and you're golden: "article doesn't say so, buy my guess"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...


Thanks, got it.

I suppose it's asking a bit much, expecting folks to "buy my guess?"

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