Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Westmoreland has surgery
By Gordon Edes
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland underwent brain surgery Tuesday and the initial reports are that it “went well,” according to a source in the organization.
A complete prognosis will not be known for a few days, the source said, but the club was hopeful that there will be a satisfactory outcome for the 19-year-old native of Portsmouth, R.I.
As of late Tuesday afternoon, there was no official word from the team on Westmoreland’s surgery, and a club spokesperson said she was uncertain when there would be an announcement.
Westmoreland underwent surgery to remove a cavernous malformation of the brain, a congenital abnormality of small abnormal capillaries (tiny blood vessels) that had become embedded in Westmoreland’s brain stem, according to multiple sources.
The condition, while potentially life-threatening, has a low mortality rate, but there is a risk of neurological damage that could affect a variety of functions, including movement and vision.
Tuesday’s surgery was performed by Robert Spetzler of the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. Spetzler is acknowledged as one of the foremost experts in the field.
The condition was discovered, according to a team source, after Westmoreland began experiencing headaches and exhibiting other neurological symptoms, including numbness. He left the team's minor league camp on March 4, according to a statement released by the team, and was diagnosed the next day at Massachusetts General Hospital. After the Red Sox flew Westmoreland around the country for consultations with three specialists, the decision was made to have surgery.
Westmoreland was in Arizona with his entire family, including his parents, Ron and Robin, according to a source close to the family. Chris Westmoreland, the home clubhouse manager for the Tampa Bay Rays and the player’s uncle, has also been with the family.