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Neurosurgery for Girl from Ecuador

A neurosurgical operation to treat areas in the brain that cause seizures was performed at Schneider Children's on a young girl suffering from epilepsy. The complex surgery took about 4 hours and done for the first time at the hospital during which the patient was completely awake
Date: 08.12.21 | Update: 20.01.22

The youngster, Bernarda, suffered from seizures.

Epilepsy is a neurological impairment in the central nervous system that causes seizures (epileptic attacks) resulting from abnormal hyperactivity of the nerve cells in the brain's meninges. In Israel, one in every 100 people have epilepsy.

Bernarda aged 17, from Ecuador, suffered for the past 5 years following a vascular defect that caused epilepsy. A few months ago, she underwent an attempt to cure her epilepsy through an operation in Colombia that was unsuccessful. Through the KIBS Association, which brings children from all over the world to Israel for neurosurgery, she arrived at Schneider Children's in the hope of having her epilepsy cured. Dr. Amir Kershenovich, Director of the Neurosurgery Unit at Schneider Children's, who performed the surgery, stands, together with his wife, at the head of the KIBS Association. Bernarda is the third youngster who was brought to Israel to undergo neurosurgery at Schneider Children's. Dr. Kershenovich is originally from Mexico and communicated with Bernarda and her family in Spanish, which helped the process immensely.

Dr. Kershenovich was accompanied by other surgeons at Schneider, who all volunteered their services from a humanitarian perspective and willingness to help, and included Dr. Dror Kraus, Dr. Tami Peleg, Dr. Omer Zarchi, Dr. Ivan Novitzky, and surgical nurse Emma Uritzky.

Dr. Kershenovich noted that "for the first time at Schneider, we conducted a complex procedure while the patient was awake to remove as much of the area as possible that was causing the brain seizures, while protecting areas connected to speech and language. This is the safest way for the patient. During the operation, we woke Bernarda and asked her basic cognitive questions in order to ensure that no damage was caused. The incision in these types of operations is made by electircal stimulation exactly before the cut. During the entire procedure, Bernarda was connected to the ECOG machine for continuous EEG monitoring of electrical brain activity."

Dr. Kershenovich added that "I am pleased and proud that we succeeded in bringing Bernarda to Israel  and to grant her treatment that will totally change her life. People with epilepsy experience different levels of social stigma because of their condition. This is a social limitation that leads to great shame and avoidance of daily life. For example, Bernarda was unable to drive, a fact which greatly affected her mobility. Treatment of children who have no means such as Bernarda, amalgamate precisely with the vision of Schneider, to treat every boy and girl and to be a bridge between nations."



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