Local News in Brief : Orange : Cancer Patient Home After Marrow Operation

A 31-year-old cancer patient who successfully underwent an operation last month to help his body produce white blood cells was released Friday from St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, a spokesman said.

Kenneth Summersgill, diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease in 1982, had been under protective isolation at the hospital since Dec. 20, when he received a bone marrow transplant, hospital spokesman Dennis Gashen said.

Hematologist and oncologist Richard W. Opfell said the transplant enabled Summersgill’s body to produce disease-fighting white blood cells without transfusions. Summersgill was in good spirits Friday when he left the hospital wearing a protective mask to prevent infection and should be under the supervision of visiting nurses for no more than a week, Opfell said.

“He’s now producing white blood (cells) very nicely,” Opfell said. “He has a 50-50 chance of living out a normal life span without any other problems with the Hodgkin’s disease.” Without the transplant, Summersgill’s chances of surviving 5 years would have been 10% or less, he said.


Summersgill was resting at home Friday and was unavailable for comment. His wife, Tammy, said she is optimistic about her husband’s recovery and happy to have him home. So are their children, 9 and 4, who eagerly awaited his return, she said.

“They are so glad to have daddy back. They couldn’t sleep last night.”