Orangutan, UofU Hospital to the Rescue

On 13 Aug 2012, the staff at the University of Utah Hospital did a CT scan on an orangutan from Salt Lake City’s Hogle Zoo.  They did this post-op procedure on a 200-pound, 24-year-old ape named Eli.

Eli has breast cancer–which is very rare in male orangutans.  He’s been through two surgeries this year to remove lumps.   But recently, swelling was detected in the lymph nodes in his armpit area.  So, Eli willingly walked into a crate (after being bribed) that was then loaded on a truck which drove him to the nearby hospital.  Doctors sedated Eli for half an hour in order to make the scan possible.

Eli Being Prepped for His CT Scan

The results of the scan are not yet available, but I will keep you posted.  Erica Hansen, Community Relations Coordinator with Utah’s Hogle Zoo said everyone is keeping their fingers crossed that the scan results don’t reveal any additional health problems for Eli:

We grow as attached to these animals as our visitors do, so anytime there is a health issue every takes that with great concern.

The story when posted on ksl.com received two comments worth noting.  According to AmericanBoy,

I’m an animal lover, and out of all of God’s creatures, I can’t think of any more special than the orangutan.  I’m glad that this beautiful creature is getting such great care.  What I find a bit sad is that there are PEOPLE in this COUNTRY (&world) that need medical help and get none, or a very poor excuse for proper medical care.

And Flarffy2000 states:

Since when do humans and animals share the same medical office and equipment??  Not too sure I would want to be the next patient in line for the CT machine after a hairy orangutan was just in it.

Perhaps flarffy2000 is exhibiting a type of discrimination that we need to concern outselves with:  hair discrimination.  A lot of male humans have a lot of hair:  hairy chests, hairy backs, hairy legs, hairy arms, and of course hairy faces.  If fact, when I’m in Africa, many of the locals are fascinated with the hair on my arms.  But maybe flarffy2000’s discrimination run deeper, maybe he/she is prejudice against great apes.  Maybe we need legislation against great ape discrimination ; or maybe flarffy needs counseling to overcome his/her unnatural fear of hair.  I wonder if he/she is bald?

If hair pollution in hospitals is really a problem, maybe we should shave the orangutan prior to a CT or MRI scan.  In the cult-classic movie Earth Girls Are Easy, the character that Geena Davis played insisted that the furry aliens that landed in her swimming pool be shaved.  Underneath were 3 attractive gentleman.  Who knows, maybe a hairless orangutan would be more acceptable to flarffy and his/her ilk.

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2 Responses to Orangutan, UofU Hospital to the Rescue

  1. roger hansen says:

    Starting in 2007, Malaysian doctors have performed cataract surgery on orangutans. In August 2012, doctors at the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program in the provincial capital capital of Medan performed the procedure on a blind ape named Gober. The mother can now see her baby twins. Sumantran orangutans are critically endangered, with only about 6,600 left in the wilds.

  2. roger hansen says:

    In July 2012, Indonesian zookeepters moved an orangutan out of visitor’s sight so she could no longer smoke cigarettes that people regularly threw into her cage. The 15-year-old ape and her male companion were moved to a small island within the zoo. There are four orangutans at the zoo in the central Java town of Solo. The female orangutan had been smoking for 10 years. She mimiced humans by holding cigarettes casually between her fingeres while visitors photographed her puffing away and flicking ashes on the ground.

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