Life-Saving Heart Transplant
15-year-old Ron Geva waited a long time to hear the exciting news "a donor heart has been found for you". He was in the care of the Cardiology Institute at Schneider Children's headed by Dr. Einat Birk, and had waited for over a year for a donor heart to save his life.
Ron contracted bone cancer two and-a-half years ago.After he recovered and returned home following a prolonged period of therapy, he began to feel ill again. The many chemotherapy treatments he endured had affected his heart, for which he needed a transplant. Because of his deteriorating condition, and in order to stabilize him and gain time until a donor heart became available, an artificial heart (LVAD – Left Ventricular Assist Device) was implanted – a mechanical pump that kept him alive until a human heart became available.
Mirroring a complex military manouver, the medical team at Schneider Children's comprising of cardiologists, surgeons, anesthetists and surgical nurses prepared for the transplant to save Ron's life. The operation was perforned by Dr. Gabi Amir, Director of the Newborn Cardiosurgery Service at Schneider Children's and Prof. Dan Arvat, Director of the Cardiothoracic Surgery Division at Beilinson and Schneider hospitals, together with Dr. Yaacov Katz, Director of the Anesthesia Department. Following the surgery, he was transferred while still sedated and ventilated to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit headed by Prof. Ovdi Dagan, and Head Nurse Rim Abd El Hai, for recovery and observation. Ron has since recovered and was subsequently discharged from hospital. Together with his mother, they moved into an apartment adjacent to Schneider Children's in order to be closer to the hospital during the ensuing period.
Ron's mother, Eti, said that "we woul like to thank the entire team in the Cardiothoracic Department for their devoted care and amazing compassion. We felt we were in the best hands. We were always welcomed in the department with a smile, a desire to help and pleasant manner even when Ron was not hospitalized. Special thanks to Dr. Amichai Rotstein for his close attention all along the way, his caring and warm personality as well as all the staff in the Institute of Cardiology who always treated us with concern and consideration. A huge thanks to the team in the LVAD Clinic at Beilinson who treated, supported and accompanied us with love until a human heart was found. We are also grateful to the team of surgeons for their expertise in dealing with a difficult situation, for their humanity and concern – there are no words to describe the immensity of our appreciation and esteem, we received the gift of life."
Schneider Children's conducts the majority of organ transplantations in children in Israel. Since its inception, more than 600 heart, lung, liver and kidney transplants have been performed in infants, children and adolescents with a level of success on a par with leading medical centers in the world.