I didn’t really realize at the time … how
significant it is—but you know I do now. I think now looking back I can see it was
even more risky, than I even realized then. So—but nonetheless,
I’m still glad to be the first. Not only for my benefit, but you know future patients. Yeah, somebody’s got to do it. That old saying. (crickets; sounds of the desert) (stringed music plays in the background) One day I was standing there working and I got a
—it must have must have been like a seizure or something. I just started kind of babbling.
I couldn’t even control what I was saying. and I felt like someone had me on a rope. And was pulling me across the room— because I just walked off at an angle.
I had no control—of anything. And then it just seemed to go away and I was fine. And then I started getting more serious problems
where I couldn’t even answer a question. And I’d just say: I don’t know what to say.
And I couldn’t figure out what to do. Shortly after that I decide, you know I
better go see my doctor. But then, you know, my doctor could tell
just in my speech and trying to talk to him that there was something neurologic going on.
Something physical. So he sent me for an MRI and they found this huge tumor. So next thing I know I’m down at a Barrow in emergency and getting in another MRI—
and then they scheduled me for surgery. Yeah that was quite a pretty extensive deal. Barrow as an institution has long been known for innovation.You know that is part of the reason why we were willing to host this, and to be also the first to take the step. Bill had some neurologic symptoms back in 2014
and was diagnosed with a large brain tumor Bill’s adventure in neurosurgery is not the typical one as opposed to most people where we have
a tumor like this we take it out and they do great and it’s all done.
He had an atypical tumor, meaning a more aggressive form. So he’s already had about as much surgery
as anybody would ever want to have. And despite of that his tumor recurred. So I was asked to provide post surgical treatment options that would allow us to treat Bill without
compromising his ability to heal. It’s hard to enjoy every day—you know when look at the past four years, there’s some reality that sneaks and it makes it tough but you still keep going. Certainly that first tumor was a major
thing because you know we were all you know, getting up to speed on what meningioma tumors are, and how you treat ’em and everything. But it all kind of just really came to a head when that second recurrence came back. And that’s when I began to realize, wow you know even though it’s treatable, it’s not gonna be pleasant. And then of course he went through,
you know, even more after that. They took his skull cap off.
Seven times. Whether it was to remove tumors
or because of infections. And there was always those worries about infection. The worry that he has—and must have—when he has a surgery. You know, am i going to have to do this again? he’ll have one of these surgeries and then you know they’ll send him home and say well you know “lay low for a while” and you know to him that means going into the shop and working. I think that’s what, you know really keeps me going to focus on, you know, work.
I think that’s been the greatest therapy. I’ve always been called a workaholic.
But I think it has its benefits sometimes. ZAP-X is a specialized robot dedicated to delivering precision radiation to head and neck tumors. My vision is simple:
There are one to two million patients a year who don’t have access to state-of-the-art treatment
— state-of-the-art brain surgery. There’s no reason that ZAP-X can’t fill that need— —and literally save millions of lives. Medical progress has always been based on people
—on patients—who’ve been willing to go first. Who’ve willing to teach us what works, what doesn’t work. And there is risk to being that very very first patient— —I mean the risk is always death. I mean, we have spent—me personally—10 years trying to make this technology. And we’ve tried to be systematic thorough and think of every conceivable thing to go wrong so we can make this safe. ‘Cause you worry something like this, he’s
the first patient. will this do him any harm? We’ve been friends for a long time—this could, potentially be close to the end of our friendship with him if he doesn’t survive this. Of course I’m nervous. Yeah tomorrow is a big day. tomorrow is a very big day. We’re testing
every part of the system, over and over and over I can’t see anything better we can do at this point. To be able to walk in there and potentially walk out in two hours and not have the skin cut open is—it just doesn’t even make sense.
But it’s amazing. We look forward to it,
cross our fingers it’s another good outcome. [Bill] I guess you look at it as an adventure
in a way but … … i don’t know … I look forward to the couple of days and
see where this goes. Next, next phase. Next chapter. So … in a sense Bill Richardson is a bit of a
Neil Armstrong right he has taken this issue to to get treated which he needed
but also to be the first one to put his foot on the moon so to speak there are
many other people who wouldn’t be the first but would be the second strong man silent but strong I admire
him do what a badass I mean his willingness to do this is
awesome because I mean that’s like that’s real R&D stuff it’s it really
goes back to this type of stuff it’s like okay like what bills dad always
used to say it’s cut and dry so I think it’s the same thing with this into your
life you know just don’t give up having this human experience there’s dark and
light and I mean you can live in one extreme or the other that’s not reality
reality is both and there’s gonna be hard times there’s gonna be good times
like in every single hard time our dark period leaders always away you just
still really really hard for it some days but there’s always a light or
there’s good and the more you focus on that the more that I’ll open up as
physicians we will never know what our patients go through we can only
experience what they have experienced through their eyes and through their
outcomes and that is what Bill is done he’s taught us all what it is when we
treat someone with his a bags and in time we pray that it’ll be a wonderful
outcome and in time we pray that literally hundreds and thousands maybe
millions will be treated with his technology and it all starts with that
first step the first step of treating Bill you