Phelps medical team raises money to grant terminally ill patient dying wish
A terminally ill Ossining man is getting his dying wish, thanks to a team of medical professionals.
On Thursday, 65-year-old Herbert Sazo was given a bittersweet sendoff by the men and women who have treated him at Phelps Hospital over the last six years.
Sazo has been battling prostate cancer, which recently metastasized. Doctors say he has months to live.
Throughout treatment, Sazo's doctors say he's always worn a smile.
"It was so touching in a sense that despite what we were sharing, despite what we were saying, he was still somebody who would come out with a smile and illuminate a room," said Dr. Michelle Espinoza, director of palliative care at Phelps Hospital.
That infectious smile is what led his medical team to help give Sazo what so many undocumented immigrants who come to the U.S. for work long for - a chance to return to his home country and see his family he's supported and loved from afar.
"When my doctor told me that my cancer was terminal and there was nothing he could do, I knew that I needed to be with my family," says Sazo.
Sazo left Guatemala 33 years ago in search of work to support his family and hasn’t been able to return home to visit his three children and mother he left behind.
The Caregiver Center and Cancer Center at Phelps Hospital banded together and raised $5,000 to help buy Sazo a one-way ticket to Guatemala and pay for end-of-life care he will need after he arrives.
"Everybody who is going through so much struggle deserves to spend at least their terminal days with their loved ones. He deserved to be back with his family." said Dr. Keyur Thakar, oncologist at Phelps Hospital.