Boy Sponsored By Dikembe Mutombo To Remove Facial Tumor Dies After Reaction To Anesthesia
Earlier this month, former NBA player Dikembe Mutombo announced the news that his foundation would sponsor a child from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to undergo surgery. Matadi Sela Petit, 8, who was accompanied by his father, was selected to travel to the United States' Cedars-Sinai Hospital to remove a facial tumor.
According to The Washington Post, while Petit endured the treatment, he passed away during the process due to his body’s “rare” and unforeseen reaction to the anesthesia. Matadi previously received treatment for his cleft lip, which was treated in his home of Kinshasa at a hospital established by Mutombo’s foundation, according to ABC7, which serviced "more than half a million women and children."
“We are comforted by the knowledge that a whole ‘village’ adopted Matadi and joined forces to offer him treatment that was not available in the DRC and which would have given him the opportunity to have a new and different life,” Mutombo said on the news of Matadi’s passing. The procedure took place in the hospital’s Osborne Head and Neck Institute.
In earlier IG posts, Mutombo documented Matadi’s journey from The Congo to Los Angeles and said the child was “shunned by society” because of the medical condition. "I was touched by what he's going through as a young boy who's 8 years old," Mutombo said upon first meeting Matadi and his family. "Not going to school. The way he's been pushed away by the society. His mom has to keep him in the bedroom every day because people are talking bad about him."
Read Mutombo's full statement below.
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MATADI SELA PETIT The Dikembe Mutombo Foundation is sad to share the news of the passing of Matadi Sela Petit. Matadi was an 8 year old little boy with a vibrant and appealing personality. He was born in Kinshasa, DRC with a cleft lip and a facial tumor that enlarged as he grew. Matadi was sponsored by the DMF and several partners to receive surgical treatment for his tumor by Dr. Ryan Osborne, founder and Director of Head and Neck Surgery at the Osborne Head and Neck Institute in Los Angeles, CA. Matadi and his father were welcomed with open arms by Dr. Osborne, his team and the Cedars Sinai Hospital family as well as the Ronald McDonald House where he won everyone’s heart with his open and friendly attitude. During the delicate surgery, Matadi suffered a rare and unpredictable genetic reaction to anesthesia. Despite the diligent efforts of his medical caregivers, Matadi did not recover and he passed away last night. We are devastated by the loss of Matadi and our heart goes out to his father, his mother and the rest of his family, and all his old and new friends. We are comforted by the knowledge that a whole “village” adopted Matadi and joined forces to offer him treatment that was not available in the DRC and which would have given him the opportunity to have a new and different life. We thank Dr. Ryan Osborne and his team, the Cedars-Sinai Hospital medical team, the Ronald McDonald House, the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital, the American Embassy in Kinshasa and all those who in large and small ways embraced Matadi and his family. He was a pioneer, and his memory will inspire us to continue to develop efforts and partnerships to improve the lives of the children of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
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This is just one of the good things that our Foundation is doing. We flew the young boy from CongoDRC with a large tumor on his face —who has been shunned by society to LA so he could be operated on by OSBORNE HEAD&NECK INSTITUTE. @dikembe_mutombo_foundation_ @dofficialmutombo #themutombofamily #drryanosborne #thebiambamariemutombohospital #thesonofcongodrc