John Ball Zoo consults Spectrum Health hand specialist for chimpanzee
Susie diagnosed with benign tumor on her wrist
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Oct. 3, 2019 – When John Ball Zoo’s veterinarian Ryan Colburn first examined the lump on Susie the chimpanzee’s right wrist, he figured it could be anything from a harmless cyst to a malignant tumor. He just wasn’t sure, so he did what any good doc would do: He called in reinforcements.
Help came in the form of Spectrum Health hand surgeon Peter Jebson, who paid a visit to 32-year-old Susie. This was the first non-human case for Jebson, who has been a hand surgeon for 23 years.
Jebson believes the lump to be a lipoma, which is a soft-tissue tumor, or a fibroma made of fibrous or connective tissue. Both are benign and are common to humans. Together, the doctors decided to simply keep an eye on things for now. And while Susie was under anesthesia, Colburn took the opportunity to perform an abdominal ultrasound, draw some blood and clean her teeth, too.
As a zoo veterinarian, Colburn is the ultimate generalist, caring for more than 210 different species of animals. And while Jebson lauded Colburn’s breadth of knowledge, Colburn said he couldn’t be successful without occasional help from specialists like Jebson.
Spectrum Health System, a not-for-profit, integrated health system, is committed to improving the health and wellness of our communities. We live our mission every day with 31,000 compassionate professionals, 4,600 medical staff experts, 3,300 committed volunteers and a health plan with more than 1 million members. Our talented physicians and caregivers are privileged to offer a full continuum of care and wellness services to our communities through 14 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, 150 ambulatory sites and telehealth offerings. We pursue health care solutions for today and tomorrow that diversify our offerings. Locally-governed and based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, our health system provided $550 million in community benefit in calendar year 2019. Thanks to the generosity of our communities, we received $37 million in philanthropy to support research, academics, innovation and clinical care. Spectrum Health has been recognized as one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems by Truven Health Analytics®, part of IBM Watson HealthTM.