A 16-year-old Russian boy, David Kurbanov, came halfway around the world to a hospital in Oklahoma city that was willing to remove his brain tumor for free. However, positive story St. Anthony Hospital and neurosurgeon Paul Francel hoped to tell became tragic when the surgery left David brain dead.

The boy’s journey to the States began early last year, when doctors in Moscow discovered a tumor that had wrapped around his brain stem, crowding the portion that controls involuntary body functions such as balance, swallowing and appetite. When the surgeons reported that the surgery carried a 30% chance of complications, such as partial paralysis, his family put off the operation and sought out alternative medicines.
An American missionary living in Russia familiar with David's story sent copies of his MRIs to Francel, and the doctor eventually agreed to do the $100,000 operation for free.

Now, David’s father, Sabit Kurbanov, accuses St. Anthony hospital and Dr. Francel of performing experimental surgery and being more interested in promoting themselves than properly caring for his son. He said he had been led to believe that his son would fully recover. He refuses to end life support for his son.

Dr. Francel reported that the surgery was not some marketing ploy and that the performed the surgery out of goodwill. He also said that the Kurbanovs voluntarily signed consent forms for the filming and that the filming was not a requirement for the surgery.

Other neurosurgeons agree that David’s type of tumor and the surgery to remove it come with a high probability of complications.

In the weeks following the surgery, the boy was able to breathe on his own for short periods and follow rudimentary commands but eventually succumbed to infections he had been battling since before the operation and became brain dead. It is not clear why he never fully recovered.
Although the doctors said that there is no chance for recovery, the boy’s father said he will keep vigil as he believes David only needs proper care and a careful approach to treatment.