Friday, January 27th | 5 Shevat 5783

September 9, 2014 1:43 pm

Israeli Hospital Saves Gaza Child Facing Kidney Failure, Overcomes ‘Nightmare Scenario’


avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

M & Mahdi Tarabia, the head nurse at pediatric nephrology at RHCC. Photo: RHCC.

Israel’s Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa introduced an innovative procedure to save the life of a 14-year-old boy from Gaza who suffered from kidney failure for years and was in dire need of a transplant, the hospital said on Monday.

After receiving a failed transplant in Egypt eight years ago, the boy, named by the hospital only as ‘M’, was told by doctors that his life would be a great risk without a successful transplant.

Significantly lowering his chances for a successful transplantation was that M’s blood coagulated too easily, obstructing all blood vessels in his groin except the one vein through which he received dialysis.

However, with the donation of a kidney from his sister, Rambam doctors had an idea that ultimately saved M’s life, the hospital said.

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In a regular transplant, doctors first remove the donor’s kidney and then connect it to the recipient’s blood vessels. In M’s case, because the doctors feared they would not find healthy blood vessels that could feed the transplanted kidney, they decided to work ‘in reverse:’ they first operated on M and checked for usable blood vessels.  After finding a few, they removed one of his sister’s kidneys and transplanted it within M.

M’s body had developed a system of bypass veins to compensate for his blocked veins, the hospital said, but shortly after his surgery, the doctors saw that the veins could not withstand the demands of the transplant. The teenager returned to the operating room only two hours later.

“It was a nightmare scenario,” said Dr. Ran Steinberg, head of Pediatric Surgery at the medical center.

Instead, the doctors implanted a synthetic connector between the vein exiting the kidney and the one that exits the liver. The innovation worked and M’s body was able to function with the new kidney. After an eight-month stay at the hospital, M recently returned to Gaza and will now only visit the hospital for periodic check-ups.

“As soon as M started to recover, our doctors’ smiles returned,” said Dr. Steinberg. “M is a great kid and he will be able to enjoy the regular life of any child his age.”

“There are no words to describe the excitement of triumphing in an impossible situation. Not everyone believed we would succeed,” he added.

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