Professor Joseph Perez, Director of Schneider Medical Center in Petah Tikva, announced Monday night that one of the children seriously injured in Wednesday's tragic poisoning in Jerusalem is now able to breathe on his own.
Walla! reported Monday that Yitzhak Gross, 5, was finally taken off the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine, which reproduces heart and lung function for patients in intensive care. Medical staff reported that while Yitzhak is still sedated, his condition continues to take a turn for the better.
His brother Michael Gross, 7, is still reportedly in stable condition.
"The staff of Schneider Medical Center is working day and night to ensure the boys' speedy recovery," a doctor involved in the case said. "The treatment's success is not only due to the staff's professionalism, but also to the use of the newest and most innovative technology available."
Schneider Medical Center is one of the only hospitals in Israel known to have the ECMO machines, which are crucial for the treatment of phosphine poisoning. No known antidote exists for the poison, which is one of the same agents used in Syria's chemical weapons.
The tragedy last Wednesday occurred after an exterminator left the highly toxic material in the apartment's enclosed security room, also known as the "Mamad" or bomb shelter.
Apparently, the security room's seal was less effective than the storage requirements for the chemical require, and the poison spread throughout the apartment over several days.
Rescue officials at the scene were shocked to discover that the chemical's toxicity was the highest level on the spectrum. The exterminator has been arrested and an investigation has been launched.
Parents Shimon and Michal have been both sitting shiva (the traditional Jewish mourning period) for their two girls, Yael and Avigayil (2 and 4), who were killed in the poisoning, and have been visiting the boys in the hospital.
They ask the public to continue praying for the boys' recovery; their Hebrew names are Raphael Yitzchak Isaac ben [the son of] Michal, and Chaim Michael Shlomo ben Michal.
The children's grandmother, Tzipora Gross, also thanked the public and the news media after receiving the update.
"We appreciate and thank everyone for everything they've done for us," she stated. "Every newspaper, every news channel has touched on this and we believe that everyone has had a part in this."
Gross also noted that while the media has covered a lot of ground on the recovery of the Gross children, she is worried about the psychological affect the tragedy may have on the Gross parents.
"Everyone talks about the children, but behind them are two young parents who have to cope with all of this," she stressed.