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Emergency Neurosurgery

13-year-old Maxim’s life was saved following emergency neurosurgery at Schneider Children’s
Date: 04.06.18 | Update: 20.06.18

The youth was feeling unwell for several months until he fainted one morning at school. An ambulance was summoned and he was taken to Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba, where he underwent a CT of his head. The findings were clear: Maxim had a huge growth located in a strategic and sensitive place in the center of the brain. At the same time, his pupils began to dilate indicating raised intracranial pressure due to a blockage in the brain fluid caused by the growth.


Dr. Ehud Rosenblum, Director of the Emergency Medicine Department at Meir, immediately consulted with Dr. Amir Kershenovich, Director of Neurosurgery at Schneider Children’s. While Dr. Rosenblum accompanied Maxim in an ambulance to Schneider, the operating room and surgical team was placed on high alert to prepare for the emergency surgery.


Imitating a meticulously planned military operation, the youngster was taken directly from the ambulance to the operating room. Within 3 minutes, a drainage pipe was inserted into his skull to release the brain fluid and decrease the pressure thus saving his life. When his condition stabilized, Maxim underwent an emergency MRI which clearly showed the huge mass in the cerebellum. The tumor was pushing the brain stem to the left and encasing major nerves, among them those responsible for eye movement, semi-facial feeling and movement, hearing and balance, the ability to swallow, the vocal cords and shoulder movement on the affected side.


Neurosurgeons prepared in advance for the surgery and the following morning, Maxim underwent a 13-hour operation. The tumor was removed in its entirety and all the nerves in the brain stem were saved. The team comprised of Dr. Amir Kershenovich, Director of the Neurosurgical Unit at Schneider, senior neurosurgeon Dr. Ivan Novitzky, neurosurgical resident Dr. David Felzenstein, anesthetist Dr. Evelin Trabkin, Director of Neurosurgical Anesthesia at Schneider, and operating room staff. Following the surgery, Maxim was transferred to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit headed by Dr. Elhanan Nahum, for recovery. He regained consciousness in a short time. A week and a half later, the drainage tube was removed from his skull and he was transferred to the Surgery Department and discharged home soon thereafter.


Dr. Kershenovich stated that “we are experienced at Schneider in performing complex operations to remove brain tumors and conducting emergency operations, but this one was particularly unusual. The huge tumor in the youth’s brain represented a real and imminent threat to his life. He arrived at the last moment and I am sure that we succeeded in saving his life due to our close collaboration with Meir Hospital and the professionalism and skill of the medical teams at Schneider.”


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