Department of Neurosurgery

Turkish Connection Brings Man to R.I. for Life-Saving Surgery

Credit: The Providence Journal/Sandor Bodo

“PROVIDENCE, R.I. — ‘This is my second life, literally,’ says Los Angeles businessman Gokhan Erkovan. He celebrates the day it was granted, June 22, 2017, as his second birthday.

And he thanks the Rhode Island Hospital doctor, Ziya L. Gokaslan, who during a marathon operation on that day removed the mammoth, life-threatening tumor growing inside him.

Erkovan returned recently for a health check that included an MRI of his lower spine, which the nightmarish thing, technically known as a chordoma, had possessed.

It was all gone, a monster no more.

‘I’m very good,’ said Erkovan, 48. ‘Perfect.’

Gokaslan concurred, authoritatively. He is one of the few surgeons anywhere skilled at treating what is literally a one-in-a-million abnormality. ‘That means that about 300 patients are diagnosed with chordoma each year in the United States,’ says the Chordoma Foundation.

Read the Full Story: Turkish connection brings man to R.I. for life-saving surgery


Ziya L. Gokaslan, MD

Julius Stoll, MD Professor and Chair, Department of Neurosurgery
Neurosurgeon-in-Chief, Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital
Clinical Director, Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute
President, Neurosurgery Foundation