Ali IngersollA little over a year after I became a C6 quadriplegic in a diving accident, one of my MRI’s came back with a troubling finding in my spinal cord: a syrinx. In my case, if the syrinx moved up to C4-5, it could result in permanent breathing impairment

After speaking with a number of leading U.S. neurosurgeons, two things became clear, neither of them good. First, my particular syrinx was on the back side of the spinal cord and thus particularly challenging — and dangerous — to reach surgically. Second, we learned that pressure from insurance companies and lawyers often helped dissuade U.S. neurosurgeons from doing the surgery I needed, a triple laminectomy followed by reaching around inside my spinal cord and removing the syrinx, unless it was deemed urgent. Exasperated, my father asked Dr. Wise Young what he would do if I was his daughter. The succinct response: I’d take her to China. Young went on to explain that thanks to the