Bittersweet Homecoming
Young Survivors of Pesticide Poisoning are Home

Haim Michael and Refael Yitzhak Gross were released from hospital 4 weeks after tragedy that claimed their sisters.

Arutz Sheva staff ,

Gross brothers
Gross brothers
Schneider PR

The Gross brothers, Haim Michael, 7, and Refael Yitzhak, 5, have been released from Schneider Children's Hospital, four weeks after they entered it in very serious and life threatening condition following a pesticide poisoning tragedy that killed their two sisters.

Haim Michael and Refael Yitzhak had been hospitalized in the Intensive Care Heart Unit at Schneider Hospital, which is headed by Dr. Ovadi Dagan and Director of Nursing, Rim Abd el-Hai.

A team of doctors and heart-lung machine operators from the Intensive Care Heart Unit was mobilized on January 22, when doctors from Shaarei Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem asked them to help save the Gross brothers, who had just been brought to the hospital. The brothers were both suffering from damage to the heart after being poisoned by pesticide. The team was able to mobilize two ECMO systems, which replace the function of the heart and lungs, placing them in customized ambulances, and doing so in what the hospital calls “record time,” in an effort that “resembled a military operation.”

The team got on the ambulances and drove to Jerusalem to save the brothers. They were later brought to Schneider Hospital, under artificial respiration and a state of induced coma, connected to the ECMO systems. After several days passed, Refael Yitzhak was taken off the machines, and one day later, so was his brother Haim Michael. Their hearts began functioning with no external support, and afterward, so did their lungs.

When their condition improved they were taken out of the ICU to the regular ward, and on Monday were released to their home.


Two days after the brothers were connected to the machines, their parents issued a plea to Arutz Sheva readers to pray for their sons, after 2- and 4-year-old Yael and Avigail z''l had passed awayץ

"I'm begging you all to hold your hands and pray together with us," requested the bereaved father Shimon. Michal, the mother, said in tears: "I feel the embrace of the people of Israel and I thank everyone - only prayer will help. There's nothing else in the world, because (the boys') condition is serious. We saw the children, their condition is serious and we want them with us."

The children were poisoned after an exterminator, who is under arrest, left pesticide in their apartment's safe room. The chemical agent, phosphine, is used in chemical weapons in Syria.

During their stay at Schneider, the boys were treated by the inter-disciplinary team at the hospital, which includes doctors, nurses, psychologists and social workers, physiotherapists, art therapists, medical clowns and others.

Shimon Gross, the boys' father, said Monday: “We leave Schneider Center today with mixed emotions. On the one hand, joy and endless happiness, for the miracle that G-d performed for us, in allowing us to return home with the boys safe and sound. On the other hand, the thoughts of the sweet and pure Avigail and Yael keep coming up. During the hospitalization period, we had the privilege of feeling the big hug and the huge heart of the entire Nation of Israel, in Israel and abroad. This gave us strength, power and emotional fortitude to make it through this period. We saw the great unity and the effect of numerous prayers, and we are certain with great belief, of their good influence.”

"We do not understand the computations of Heaven. We hope and pray that we will have the strength to carry on our life's journey in joy and in the best and most beautiful way. We thank the teams at Schneider Center and at Shaarei Tzedek Hospital and appreciate their held, and thank the Nation of Israel for the support.”