The following story was provided by Chris Zambas, AuD
I have had several memorable moments during my 35 years of practice. My practice processes, on average, 9,000+ patients a year. One such moment that really stands out for me is evident in the following patient e-mail that was sent to the Medical Director here at Northrop Grumman Newport News. It’s always very gratifying to see feedback such as this, regardless of the situation. This e-mail was not solicited nor was it the result of a customer survey. I am also pleased to say that the patient is doing much better now two years later.
After a “routine” hearing examination last September, Chris Zambas informed me that he was growing concerned because he noted some ongoing hearing loss on my left side. Chris took the time to discuss a number of scenarios that could explain this mild loss and even hinted that it could (though very remote) be a tumor. He asked that I pay close attention to this matter and that I follow up with a local physician of my choosing sometime in the future.
Based on my conversation with Chris regarding how rare it would be for this to be the result of a tumor, I was not really that concerned. I knew that I had to have the follow up anyhow because there was no way I could return for another hearing exam having not done as asked…
I followed up as advised and ultimately discovered that I did in fact have a golf ball size (benign) brain tumor. When I informed Chris of my diagnosis he instantly asked if he could be of any help and offered his assistance anytime. I cannot tell you how thankful I am that we have such a fine medical staff here and I personally think that what the medical department does for us is anything but routine.
I had the tumor removed in February of 2007 and returned to work a few months later. While I have experienced some significant physical setbacks as a result of the surgery, things could have been much worse had this gone untreated. When I returned to work Chris sat me down to speak with me about how I was recovering. I am personally moved with regard to the compassion and sincere interest he showed in my condition and my overall recovery.
What a guy… A gentleman who absolutely cares about what he is doing and is obviously VERY good at what he does. I can’t tell you how many medical professionals have asked the same question: “How did you find this (the tumor)???” I wish you could see their reactions when I tell them that the medical department at my work ultimately led me to discover this (the tumor). They all are so impressed when I inform them that my place of employment has a comprehensive Audiology program that is run by an audiologist who obviously is the best at what he does.
About the Author: Chris Zambas graduated from Penn State University with a master of science degree in audiology in 1971. He has worked at Northrop Grumman Newport News since 1973 and has been their manager and chief audiologist since 1979. He is currently a fellow member of the Academy and has been a member since 1999.