Double-organ transplant for 13-year old at Israel's Schneider

Due to a life-threating deterioration of her liver condition as well as diabetes, Amram needed a combined liver and pancreas transplant.

Yoni Kempinski ,

Hila Amram with Dr. Weisbord.
Hila Amram with Dr. Weisbord.
Credit: Schneider Hospital spokesperson

A rare liver and pancreas transplant surgery took place last Monday at the Schneider Children's Medical Center.

Hila Amram, aged 13 and a half, from Be'er Tuvia, was born with congenital heart disease which led to liver failure and suffers from diabetes as well.

Due to a life-threatening deterioration of her liver condition together as well as her diabetes, Amram was in need of a combined liver and pancreas transplant - an extremely rare operation.

The double-organ transplant, which not only saved Amram's life but also freed her from her dependence on insulin, was rendered even more complicated when the internal organs of the donor body were found in reverse order from their normal position. This rare condition required the training and skills of top surgeons.

At the end of the complicated surgery, Amram was transferred for recovery to the intensive care unit at the Schneider Children's Medical Center.

Immediately after the liver and pancreatic transplant surgery, a kidney transplant was performed on an 8-year-old girl with congenital renal failure. The girl had been receiving treatments at the dialysis unit at Schneider Children's and has been waiting for a kidney donation for nearly a year.

Nine organ transplants were performed at the Schneider Children's Center during March 2019 for children aged nine months to 13-and-a-half: a heart transplant, a liver and pancreas transplant, two liver lobe transplants and five kidney transplants.

The liver and kidney transplants in children are led by Dr. Michael Gurevich and Dr. Sigal Eisner, senior transplant physicians at the Schneider Children's Medical Center. In order to enable liver, pancreatic, and kidney transplants, which are considered complex surgeries, and even more complex in small children, special preparation is required from the multidisciplinary teams at the hospital.

Sarit Amram, Hila's mother, said, "When Hila was born we were told that she would need a liver transplant sometime during her lifetime, but it was not known when. At the end of January 2019, her condition deteriorated and we waited for a liver transplant for two months which seemed like forever. The thoughts, fears - life is simply "on hold" - a difficult and nerve-wracking feeling. Until you're in a position like this, you can't understand what it's like. From my position I call on the public to sign the life-saving Adi donor card," Sarit added.

"Also, it's important to me to emphasize that the transplant system in Israel includes doctors who are both medical experts and compassionate people. We merited to meet an angel named Dr. Michael Gurevich. "He met us when Hila was very sick and we, as parents, were completely broken. He always made sure to say a good word, to encourage and support us despite the difficult medical situation."