Baraga Man Seeks Unique Brain Surgery

Robert Hockings is a corrections officer at the Baraga Correctional Facility.

A physical encounter with an inmate led to a sobering diagnosis for him.

He says when he intervened in an inmate assault on staff, the inmate struck him in the head.

Robert experienced headaches afterward and when he had an MRI to see if there was any internal bleeding, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

He turned to Marquette General Health System and the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

Neurologists at Mayo told him he should have an open craniotomy, where the skull is cut wide open and the brain is lifted before the tumor is removed.

But he says there are more advanced procedures, such as what’s called the keyhole approach.

The tumor is vacuumed out through a non-invasive incision near an eyebrow.

Robert learned about the keyhole approach on his own, over the Internet.

He says he found a physician at the Skull Base Institute in Los Angeles who’s performed the procedure several thousand times.

Robert is leaving for L.A. this Friday, and he’ll have the surgery himself on July 31st, a week from tomorrow.

We’ll check in with Robert again once he returns and has completely recovered.

He’ll have to stay in the hospital for two days and will get to go home to Baraga after five days.

Robert should be clear to return to work at the prison after about two weeks.

If he had a craniotomy, he’d have to remain in intensive care for five days and would have many weeks of recovery.