3 Lives Dramatically Saved

Three lives were saved in two dramatic incidents at Beilinson over the past few days, overcoming major bureaucratic and medical difficulties.

Hillel Fendel, | updated: 16:05

Three lives were saved in two dramatic incidents at Beilinson Hospital over the past few days – showing how bureaucratic, medical, and other difficulties can be overcome when life is at stake.

The first case involved a 19-year-old girl from Georgia, of the former Soviet Union, who was visiting Israel on a Birthright tour with her brother.  Within a period of a few days, her life turned upside down: She was found to have a fatal genetic liver disease, was told that she could die if she returned home, became an Israeli citizen, underwent an emergency liver transplant, and now plans to remain in Israel forever. 

The girl, who was otherwise healthy, began to feel sudden severe stomach pains and swelling of limbs.  She was brought to Beilinson (also known as Rabin Medical Center), where dozens of people began working on two emergency fronts simultaneously.  “We first began medical tests,” Hospital Director Dr. Boaz Tadmor told Army Radio, “and found that she had a genetic liver disease of which she had no previous knowledge.  Only later was it found out that her grandmother’s brother had died young because of a liver problem.  We had to prepare her for a transplant, even though we had no idea if a donor would be found, nor how it would be paid for.”

Citizenship in Two Days
At this point, the second front began working: “There is no procedure for transplant operations for foreign citizens.  And to fly her back to Georgia was also not an option, because she was likely not to survive the flight, and in any case, liver transplants are not done in Georgia – so it would have been a death sentence.  We called the Prime Minister’s Office, and they immediately understood the situation, and with the help of Netiv - the 'Russian Desk' of Israel's Foreign Ministry – they rushed through citizenship for the girl within two days!”

Meanwhile, her mother had offered to donate part of her liver if necessary, and she was flown to Israel to be with her daughter.  All the while, the girl’s brother was at her side as well. 

On Saturday night, a person died – no identifying details have been provided about him or her – and was found to have a matching liver.  The Klalit Health Fund agreed to sign the girl up as a member, footing the 850,000 shekel bill, and within hours, the girl had a new, healthy liver. 

Wants to Remain Here Forever
Emotions and adrenaline were running high throughout the few days of the incident, Tadmor acknowledged. He said the girl is already feeling better and is walking around.  For her part, she told Army Radio that she “received her life as a gift, thanks to all the doctors, nurses and everyone else,” and that she wants to remain in Israel forever.  Her brother, as well, has requested citizenship.

Dr. Tadmor thanked the people in the Prime Minister’s Office and in Netiv for grasping the situation quickly and overcoming the bureaucratic hurdles, the Klalit Health Fund, and the “dozens of people inside and outside the hospital who got the job done.”

Mother and Baby OK - Now
In a second incident in the same hospital, a 39-year-old birthing mother underwent clinical death – and she and her new-born daughter were both saved. 

The woman, who has three other children, arrived in Beilinson on Friday in good condition – but as labor progressed, the woman began to suffer from hemorrhaging and respiratory problems, and actually went into cardiac arrest.  Once again, two fronts were opened: one team began life-saving activities on the mother, while the other began a C-section operation to save the baby. 

The baby was in fact born with a serious condition known as respiratory acidosis, but she later stabilized and is now in good condition in the preemie ward in Shneider Children’s Hospital in Petach Tikva. The mother was operated on, with doctors simultaneously working for three hours to stop the bleeding, stabilize her blood pressure and body temperature, and revive the heart.  She is now listed in stable condition and is communicating with her family members.

Prof. Glazerman, head of the hospital’s gynecology department, said afterwards, “C-sections to save a baby from a mother who has died are familiar, but I don’t recall a case, in my 35 years in this profession, that combines resuscitation while at the same time trying to rescue the fetus.  I am happy that we were able to save both of their lives.”