Alan Gross, Jailed in Cuba, May Have Cancer

By Reuters

Published October 02, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

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 Jared Genser.

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 Cohen.

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 Dec. 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 examine Gross.

“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 military hospital.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.