Office of Institutional Advancement

Grateful Patient

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When Ron Whitehead head’s father, Ronald Whitehead, Sr., was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma, a cancer of the bile ducts, in 2009, doctors gave him six months to live. Jefferson gastroenterology specialist, David E. Loren, MD was able to change Ronald’s prognosis by using a novel approach to cancer treatment called photodynamic therapy, available at the Jefferson Digestive Disease Institute.

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After my dad was given six months to live, we were thrilled to hear that Jefferson had the specialized equipment to do something for him. We’re thankful that we live close to a great hospital like Jefferson. Dr. Loren became more than a doctor to us; he honestly became part of our family.

- Ron Whitehead, grateful patient family member

In photodynamic therapy, a light-sensitive drug is exposed to a visible light beam to destroy cancerous cells. This treatment is FDA approved for several esophageal cancers and is now being utilized as a less invasive option for patients who suffer with colon/rectal cancer and other head and neck lesions that fail to respond to standard treatment.

“We were thrilled to hear that Jefferson had the specialized equipment to do something for my dad. We’re thankful that we live close to a great hospital like Jefferson and we were excited that the treatment did work,” he said.

“Dr. Loren immediately offered us the hope, not that he could cure it, but that he could at least extend his life and make his life more pleasant through this tough experience.”

Throughout the process of his father’s treatment at Jefferson, and even after his demise, Whitehead, Jr. says Dr. Loren was a constant support to his family, not only providing expert care but also abundant compassion.

“Dr. Loren became more than a doctor to us; he honestly became part of our family,” he said. “He was always honest with us; he always shared with us exactly what the next steps would be. We appreciated the hospital environment; even the nurses with my dad showed tremendous care and were very compassionate to him. I’m really thankful for that.”