MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – An attorney representing Alan Gross, an American who has been imprisoned in Cuba for nearly three years, has disputed test results provided by the Cuban government that show his client does not have cancer.
On Monday, Cuban and American officials met to discuss Gross’ health, Cuban officials said in a statement Wednesday.
During the meeting officials discussed in part an Oct. 24 biopsy that confirmed that a lump on Gross’ right shoulder is not cancerous. The Cuban medical team treating Gross, 63, said “the general health condition of Mr. Gross is normal” though he is being treated for “chronic illnesses that are typical of his age.”
A New York rabbi who saw Gross on Tuesday also said the growth was not cancerous. Rabbi Elie Abadie, a gastroenterologist, said that he had examined Gross and received a lengthy briefing on his health.
In a statement released Wednesday, attorney Jared Genser said Gross did not authorize the public release of his medical records which constituted a regrettable breach of the confidentiality that any patient should expect from their doctor.
Genser said his firm is having an oncologist review the results because the test results raise doubts about how definitive it is.
“First, the fine-needle aspiration biopsy that was performed removed 1 cc of bloody fluid. It is not clear if tissue was removed. Our doctors tell us that given the size of the lesion, they recommended both a CT scan with contrast to examine blood flows into the area and a biopsy with tissue,” said Genser in a statement. “Second, previously Cuban doctors had told Mr. Gross definitively that the growth was a hematoma and that it would reabsorb within three months of its appearance in May 2012. Instead, the growth has gotten larger and now, according to their own report, Cuban doctors are now saying it ‘could relate to a hematoma’.”
Genser said there is also no clear medical explanation as to why Gross has lost more than 105 pounds during his three years of incarceration.
A U.S. doctor who previously reviewed tests performed on Gross in Cuba before the biopsy said they were inadequate.
Dr. Alan A. Cohen, a Maryland radiologist, said in early October that the mass “has yet to be properly evaluated.” Cohen suggested it would be preferable if Gross was immediately examined at a facility in the United States.
Gross, 63, has been in prison in Cuba since late 2009. He was working as a U.S. government subcontractor when he was arrested, and his case has become a source of tension in U.S.-Cuba relations.
Next week will mark three years since Gross was arrested.
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