Archives for February 2012

02.22.2012 – Israeli joins Kentucky surgeons in transplant surgery

By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
02/22/2012 05:25

Dr. Amir Oron aids a surgical team in transplanting a cadaver arm to a recipient.

Doctors [illustrative]
PHOTO: THINKSTOCK/IMAGEBANK

For the first time, an Israeli physician sent to Kentucky for professional work has joined a surgical team to transplant a cadaver arm to a recipient.Dr. Amir Oron, a hand surgery specialist at Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot, participated in the 15- hour operation over the weekend at the Kleinert Kutz Hand Care and Microsurgery Center in Louisville.

Surgeons consider attaching an arm from a deceased donor the most challenging type of hand transplant surgery.

The recipient was 56-year-old Ronald Thurman, a farmer from Indiana whose arm was amputated in a combine accident nine years ago. He received his new right arm from a 22-year-old Texas man who was killed in a traffic accident and whose family donated his organs.

The arm was flown by jet from Texas to Kentucky while the two men were tissue typed and preparations were made for surgery.

Oron was part of a huge team of 42 hand surgeons from the US and other countries, headed by Dr. Joseph Kutz.

“Every operation like this is a challenge of its own,” said the Kaplan physician. “In such a case, because some of Mr. Thurman’s muscles were weakened during the accident, we had to transfer muscles originally meant for a different purpose. Before we attached the donor’s arm, the recipient underwent anti-rejection therapy based on a number of drugs.”

In the first stage, the bones are connected, followed by the arteries so the donor arm does not suffer from ischemia for longer than necessary.

Then the nerves, veins, ligaments and skin are attached.

The world’s first arm transplant was performed a few years ago at the same Kentucky center, where Oron was studying his specialty.

The farmer was the eighth patient to undergo such a transplant at Kleinert, but this was the first time an Israeli hand surgeon participated.

02.15.2012 – Trying to ‘feel high’ nearly costs boy his life

By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
LAST UPDATED: 02/15/2012 04:10

The victim was 10-year-old Shalev Muallem of Bnei Ayish, who plays in Rehovot’s Maccabi child football team.

Shalev Muallem sits with Dr. Natalya Kovalov
PHOTO: KAPLAN MEDICAL CENTER

A boy whose schoolmate pressed on his diaphragm to try out a “way to feel high” that he had seen on YouTube lost consciousness for 20 minutes on Sunday and was saved by Kaplan Medical Center emergency room doctors.The victim was 10-year-old Shalev Muallem of Bnei Ayish, who plays in Rehovot’s Maccabi child football team. The “game” of chest-pressing almost cost the boy his life, said the doctors.The pressure on the chest, according to the video, creates a tickling feeling on the arms, which “float” upward until the person faints. The boy who did the pressing told his classmates, “If Shalev falls, hold him up.” After Muallem’s whole body shook and he lost consciousness, an ambulance arrived and rushed him to Kaplan.

Dr. Natalya Kovalov of the pediatrics department said that pressure on the diaphragm can halt breathing, starving the brain and heart of oxygen or overwhelming them with too much of it; there is also a risky reaction in the nervous system. This situation could be fatal, she said.

Kovalov added that children had to be warned of the dangers of this “game.”

Muallem was admitted in moderate condition. When his condition stabilized, he failed to recognize the people around him for a whole day and did not recall anything about the incident. The medical staff conducted a series of tests to rule out other conditions, gave him liquids and monitored him closely.

Dr. Pini Cassuto, a senior medical psychologist at Kaplan, noted that youngsters are exposed daily to information on the Internet and that some of it can be questionable and even dangerous. They are not mature enough to assess the data on these sites, he said, advising parents and teachers to monitor the online material that children view.

Muallem’s parents added their support for the doctors’ recommendation.

02.07.2012 – Sderot’s first resident’s hearing restored after 25 years

By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
LAST UPDATED: 02/07/2012 05:27

Meir Turgeman will for the first time be able to hear the Red Alert warning siren against rockets from Gaza.

Meir Turgeman regains his hearing.
PHOTO: COURTESY KAPLAN MEDICAL CENTER

The ability to hear has been returned to Meir Turgeman, the most veteran resident of Sderot, who said Monday that thanks to the operation he underwent at Kaplan Medical Center, he will for the first time be able to hear the Red Alert warning siren against rockets from Gaza.Turgeman, who celebrated his 67th birthday the same day, said he had lost his hearing 25 years ago. Only now, after the second part of a complicated operation on his right ear was the sense restored. He took his family to live in the then-new development town in the South in 1955. He continues to work as a “house father” in the comprehensive school in town, even though he has been deaf for a quarter-century. A hearing aid was of no help, he said.

It was especially alarming for him when a Red Alert siren went off, sending residents for cover, and he was not aware of it. He was also upset when his grandchildren came and he didn’t know they had arrived.

Specialists at the otolaryngology department headed by Dr. Doron Halperin recommended a new titanium implant device placed inside the skull and behind the ear to which a special hearing aid was attached. Surgeon Dr.

Ehud Kantzel performed the operation after learning the technique in Australia and New Zealand. He said the system optimally receives stimuli and transfers them directly to the auditory nerve, thus bypassing his defective middle ear. Three months after the first operation, the implant was accepted by the body, and then the hearing device was attached. He began to hear immediately.

The system was added to the basket of medical technologies, paid for by his health fund, only recently – bringing about a “revolution” in the treatment of many deaf people, the Rehovot team said. They are now trying to restore some hearing to his left ear.

“I hope I won’t need it for that, but now I will be able to run to the shelter when the Red Alert is sounded,” he said, adding that his social life is about to change completely.

02.06.2012 – Blind doctor can see again

By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
LAST UPDATED: 02/06/2012 04:18

Retired Kaplan Medical Center pediatrician who became blind last year plans to “pay back” hospital by volunteering there.

Dr. Markovich examines Dr. Vladimir PromovichPHOTO: COURTESY/KAPLAN MEDICAL CENTER

A retired Kaplan Medical Center pediatrician who became blind last year can see again thanks to a donated cornea transplanted into his right eye by his colleagues in the Rehovot hospital.Dr. Vladimir Promovich, who made aliya from Ukraine in 1998, said that in gratitude for his restored eyesight, he will volunteer at Kaplan and examine patients.

The 69-year-old Promovich, a long-time specialist and Ashdod resident, underwent several attempts in 2011 to restore his sight but none of them succeeded.

Last week, after a patient died, the family agreed to donate the cornea, and the operation was conducted by Dr. Arye Markovich and his ophthalmology department team.

A relatively new technology enables doctors to split one cornea in half for transplantation into two recipients while removing only part of a cornea from the recipient.

“In Ukraine, I specialized in lung diseases including tuberculosis in children. When I came to Israel, I wanted to continue working as a doctor,” said Promovich.

He received a license in internal medicine and started working in the internal medicine departments at Kaplan and at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, he said.

“Then my vision problems began. My left eye failed, and in my right eye I could see less because of a decline in the cornea. Because of that, I stopped working completely and had difficult doing even simple tasks.

“I am totally independent now. It’s amazing,” said the pensioner. “When my vision improves even more, I will offer my services in pediatrics and internal medicine at Kaplan. After all, I worked here, and now they have given me my sight back.”

Prof. Ayala Pollack, head of the ophthalmology department, said there has in recent months been a dramatic increase in the number of transplanted corneas, as families are more aware of the need to give and the growing use in the split-cornea technique.