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New Lease on Life

2-year-old Firas first underwent surgery to remove a malignant growth from his liver, but when the remaining portion did not revive, he needed a liver lobe transplant
Date: 08.07.19 | Update: 29.07.19

2-year-old Firas from the Bedouin city of Rahat in the south, was recently diagnosed with a malignant tumor that enveloped his liver and threatened his life. Schneider Children's specialists anticipated a very difficult procedure to remove that portion of the liver affected by the tumor. Since doctors did not know in advance whether the remaining section of the liver would function after the surgery, the medical team and his mother were prepped for a possible liver lobe transplant. Towards this end, his mother underwent all the required medical tests prior to the operation.

In the ensuing complex and delicate surgery, doctors removed that part of the liver affected by the tumor after which Firas was transferred to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) where doctors evaluated whether the remaining liver portion was able to function. Over the next few days, Firas underwent close observation and follow up assessment, but after all the data were analysed, it was clear that the liver was not performing as hoped, and the medical team decided he should have the transplant.

Firas and his mother were placed in two separate but adjacent operating theaters. First the liver lobe was removed from the mother and then transferred to the second operating room where it was implanted into Firas. Following the transplant surgery, Firas was initially hospitalized in the PICU and later in the Pediatrics C Department.

The liver transplant was performed by Dr. Michael Gurewitz and Dr. Sigal Eisner, senior physicians in the Organ Transplantation Department at Schneider Children's. In order to conduct liver ransplantations in children, which are already complex procedures, the surgery is even more complicated when small children are involved. Special preparation is required by the multidisciplinary teams in the hospital including pediatric organ transplant surgeons, ultrasound technicians, gastroenterologists, nephrologists, transplant coordinators, social workers, dieticians, anesthetists and surgical nurses, intensivists, and teams in Pediatric C experienced in treating organ recipients, and more, all experts and experienced in the field of pediatric organ transplantation.

According to Dr. Gurewitz, "Firas arrived with a malignant growth on his liver which endangered his life. Schneider Children's has the tools and knowledge to perform surgical excisions of such tumors, but unfortunately the remaining portion of his liver did not revive as we had expected. Since we had prepared for such an eventuality in advance, Firas's mother was ready to donate her liver lobe and we could proceed without delay."

Schneider Children's performs the majority of organ transplantations in children in Israel and is among the few pediatric institutions in the world able to conduct several transplant operations at the same time. Since its inception, more than 600 transplantations of heart, lung, liver and kidney organs have been implanted in children at the same rate of success as other leading global facilities.


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