Dozens of hospital staffers in Haifa participated in complex surgery to save life of seven-year-old Gaza child
Seven-year-old Madchat Tapash, who was born in the Gaza Strip, had already undergone 15 operations and dozens of other medical procedures since he was born with a kidney defect that caused life-threatening failure of his kidneys and a poorly functioning bladder. But recently he needed more surgery – a complex, highly sophisticated operation that was performed at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa to save his life.
The operation was actually comprised of three different surgeries conducted almost simultaneously, in which the child’s bladder was reconstructed; a kidney donated by his mother was removed from her body and implanted in his body; and finally, Madchat’s new kidney was successfully connected to his reconstructed bladder.
For the past two-and-a-half years, Madchat has been undergoing dialysis treatment. Because of his severe medical condition, he was unable to receive the care he needed through the Gaza healthcare system and was transferred to Rambam by Yazid Falah, Health Coordinator for patients from the Palestinian Authority. The “Think About Others” Association raised funds to help pay for his surgery.
Rambam brought together a large, highly skilled multi-disciplinary team consisting of several dozen people from multiple hospital departments to perform the operation. Medical specialists from the pediatric urology clinic, under the leadership of Dr. Akram Assadi, and the pediatric nephrology institute, together with surgeons, renal implant specialists, hematologists, radiologists, anesthesiologists, and pharmacists worked to create an operational plan to save the boy’s life. Prof. Pinhas Livneh, formerly director of pediatric urology, provided expert consultation and guidance.
Madchat’s mother Sumar, who has four other children, offered to donate her kidney to her son and was found to be a suitable match. “I would have given him my soul, my eyes and that I should die so that he could live – anything to stop his suffering,” said Sumar.
The surgery lasted for 11 hours, and part of the time, it was carried out in two surgical suites simultaneously. The first phase involved reconstruction of the boy’s bladder by the pediatric urology team directed by Assadi. The bladder, which was not functioning well, was reconstructed and enlarged using the boy’s ureters – muscular tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.
At the same time, in an adjacent surgical suite, Sumar underwent a minimally invasive but complex procedure to extract one of her kidneys. That surgery was performed by Prof. Ahmad Assalia, deputy director of general surgery at Rambam. The mother’s kidney was then implanted in the boy’s body by Dr. Ran Steinberg, director of the department of pediatric surgery, and his team.
In the final phase, the newly implanted kidney was connected to the reconstructed bladder. While still in the operating room, Madchat’s new kidney began functioning properly. When it was all over, Sumar joyfully exclaimed, “It is wonderful to give a part of your body to heal your child. You feel the closeness – it is as if we were one body.”
“An operation of this magnitude required the participation and coordination of dozens of people, and multiple hospital departments,” commented Steinberg. “Without intensive advance preparation and great motivation to succeed, it would have been extremely difficult to carry out this extraordinary undertaking.”
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