American Alan Gross, jailed in Cuba, may have cancer: lawyer
Reuters/Reuters - Jailed U.S. Agency for International Development
(USAID) contractor Alan Gross, (R), poses for a picture during a visit
with Cuban Jewish Community leader Adela Dworin, (C), and David
HAVANA (Reuters) - Alan Gross, the American government contractor jailed
in Cuba for crimes against the state, could be suffering from an
untreated cancer, according to an independent review of his medical
records, his U.S. lawyer said on Tuesday.
"Gross has a potentially life-threatening medical problem that has not
been adequately evaluated to modern medical standards," U.S.-based
radiologist Alan Cohen said in a statement released by Gross attorney
Genser said Cohen had reviewed CT and ultrasound scans performed by
Cuban doctors of an unidentified mass behind Gross's right shoulder,
which wife Judy Gross cited after a recent visit to her husband.
The Cuban physicians diagnosed the mass as a "hematoma" and told Gross
in May that it would disappear within a few months, according to Genser.
As Gross has lost 105 pounds (47 kg) since his arrest in December 2009,
Cohen concluded Gross's right-shoulder mass is in urgent need of proper
medical evaluation, including an MRI "and potentially a biopsy,
preferably in a facility in the United States, immediately."
A "soft tissue mass in an adult who has lost considerable weight must be
assumed to represent a malignant tumor unless proven to be benign," said
The Cuban government had no immediate comment on Cohen's statement, but
previously has said Gross was in "normal" health.
Gross, jailed in Cuba since December 3, 2009, is serving a 15-year
sentence for illegally providing Internet equipment and service to Cuban
Jewish groups under a U.S. program promoting political change that the
Cuban government considers subversive.
His arrest stalled a brief period of progress in U.S.-Cuba relations
that have been mostly bad since Cuba's 1959 revolution that brought
Fidel Castro to power and turned the island communist.
The latest doctor's report was seized upon by Genser and Judy Gross, who
have been demanding that Cuba allow an independent medical expert to
"Cuban government doctors are either guilty of gross professional
negligence or they are intentionally hiding what could be a lethal
condition," Genser said.
"President Castro, I beg you not to let my husband die on your watch.
Your country claims to have such a wonderful health care system - yet
why have your doctors misdiagnosed him and failed to order the right
tests to determine what is actually happening?" Judy Gross said.
"Please let us have Alan diagnosed by a doctor of his choosing before it
is too late," she said.
Cuba prides itself on its medical system, which provides free care to
all, but suffers from equipment and medicine shortages the government
blames on the long-standing U.S. trade embargo against the communist island.
Gross has asked Cuba to let him go home for two weeks to visit his
mother and daughter, both of whom have cancer. He has promised to return
and serve his sentence, but Cuba has not responded.
Cuba has said it proposed talks with the United States about resolving
the Gross case but has received no answer. It has hinted at the
possibility of a swap of Gross for five Cuban agents imprisoned in the
United States, a deal Washington has rejected.
It said that Gross could be in a prison but is serving his time in a
(Reporting By Jeff Franks and David Adams in Miami; editing by Philip