In less than two weeks, six liver and six kidney transplants were performed at the Hadassah Medical Center, a record number in the State of Israel. The month of July 2022 was among the most active that the transplant unit staff has known when 12 patients who suffered from prolonged liver or kidney diseases were operated on in just under two weeks, when their conditions deteriorated to the point of needing to perform a transplant.
The data indicate that organ transplant surgery was performed almost daily, accelerated, and more demanding than usual, even for the unit's staff, who work intensively throughout the year. "In the past month, we have seen a significant increase in organ donations in Israel and subsequently a significant increase in the number of transplants performed throughout the country. This is immediately reflected in our center," says Dr. Abed Khalaileh, a general surgery specialist and head of the transplant unit at Hadassah. "Such intensity and high numbers of organ transplants in such a short period of time testify, above all, to the extensive teamwork that takes place at Hadassah every day. I liken it to a coordinated and harmonious orchestra of excellent people, whose performance in kidney and liver transplants, as well as combined transplants, is made possible thanks to their determination and perseverance and great desire on the part of everyone to save lives."
"At least two transplant specialists perform all transplant and donation surgeries at Hadassah in order to achieve the best results and out of a commitment to the living organ donors," he emphasizes. "Going forward, Hadassah's transplant clinic team monitors hundreds of organ-transplant recipients and provides each one of them with a personal and professional relationship that ensures the success of the process."
Hadassah's transplant unit operates under the Department of General Surgery and is one of the oldest in Israel. It began performing kidney transplants in the 1970s and performed the first successful liver transplant in Israel in 1991. The unit's staff is responsible for living and deceased donor liver and kidney transplants. There has seen an impressive increase in activity in recent years, placing it among Israel's leading centers in transplant surgery.
"To achieve performance at the end of which the recovery is complete and safe for both the transplant recipients and organ donors, we combine forces that already begin with long-term medical treatment at the Hadassah liver Institute or Nephrology Department. They are the ones who treat patients whose conditions are not simple. They accompany the patients at all stages of the disease, from the diagnosis, which is sometimes challenging and complex and poses quite a few difficulties, through the treatment adapted to chronic patients, as well as the transplant stage. And, of course, they closely monitor the transplant patients throughout their lives. A warm relationship is created that lasts for years," notes Dr. Khalaileh, "and when we enter the picture, we feel that we have definitely joined an entire family. I believe that every patient who chooses to be treated at Hadassah and later chooses to undergo their transplant at Hadassah makes a decision based on the performance and activity of the teams, where there is no argument regarding their professionalism and inter-personal relations, and knows that he has someone to trust in a track that is definitely a long-distance run.
The donors who are doing a sublime deed, as far as I am concerned, also deserve special appreciation, whether it is a relative who is determined to save his family member or an altruistic donor who comes through the "Gift of Life" organization and does not even know who he will donate to before performing the transplant. If it were not for their kindness and daring to move out of their comfort zone and routine, we would not have come to save the lives of so many people every year. All that stands before their eyes is saving lives wherever it is.
"This is also an opportunity for me to thank all the teams that are partners in the hospital, whose combined strength, manage to define what true professionalism is: the anesthesiologists, intensive care teams, operating room teams, imaging division, social workers, gastroenterology and liver institute, and of course the nephrology department, the internal medicine division and surgical division. Special thanks to all the nursing staff, and to the staff of the transplant unit - the social worker and the administrative staff, our coordinators, Dr. Ashraf Imam, a senior surgeon who is a partner in the journey and of course the management of the Hadassah Medical Center - who provides support throughout the entire process."