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In Death, He Granted Life
Great excitement was generated at Schneider Children's with the news of the donation of kidneys, liver and heart for transplant. The news arrived following the courageous decision of 3-year-old Fuad's parents after Fuad had tragically been killed in a road accident. Mirroring a complex military operation, transplant teams comprising surgeons, anesthetists, operating staff and more were summoned at night to prepare for the string of marathon surgeries that commenced one after the other over the space of one weekend.
A 15-year-old youngster who suffered from a chronic genetic renal disease and had undergone hemodialysis for 18 months, received both kidneys; a girl of 4 with a metabolic disease received the liver; and Chaya Libby Giladi, aged 3, who suffered from chronic cardiac dysfunction and had been connected to the articificial "Berlin Heart" as a bridging measure until a human organ was found, received the long-awaited heart. Libby had been hospitalized in Schneider Children's for two months while she awaited a transplant. A moving encounter took place at the hospital in the presence of management and medical teams who had tended her over the past months when Libby's parents met Fuad's parents.
Bella Henig, Libby's mother, expressed her appreciation to Fuad's parents and said that "it is amazing there are such people, I have no words. On the one hand, I am happy, and on the other, another family is suffering such pain". Samar Mahamid, Fuad's mother, said in response that "there is nothing more that can console us than the knowledge that Fuad's death saved the lives of other children". Samar said she would call Fuad (which means heart in Arabic) Fuadi, meaning my heart (Li-bi in Hebrew) meaning now his and Libby's heart are one/"
Dr. Efrat Bron-Harlev, CEO of Schneider Children's, added that "we see so many bonds formed like these between nations, sectors, and genders at Schneider Children's which are taken for granted; if only it could also be taken for granted in other arenas in Israel as well as other places."
The transplants were performed by Schneider's specialists: the liver and kidney transplants by Dr. Michael Gurevich, head of the Liver Transplantation Unit, and Dr. Sigal Eisner, head of the Kidney Transplant Service, and the heart transplant by Dr. Gabi Amir. The surgeries were conducted with the assistance of the Anesthesiology Department headed by Dr. Yelena Tzeitlin. Post-operative care of Libby was conducted in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit headed by Prof. Ovdi Dagan. The liver and kidney recipients were initially admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit headed by Prof. Elhanan Nahum and transferred to Pediatrics C headed by Prof. Irit Krause for follow-up care.
Schneider Children's is among the few pediatric centers in the world capable of performing marathon transplants with success where surgeries follow one after the other involving scores of personnel – from transplant surgeons to technicians - and within a short space of time following organ donation. Since donations are received at short notice, much importance lies in the smooth coordination and summoning of various teams and the speedy preparation for the surgeries.
Schneider Children's conducts the majority of organ transplants in children in Israel. Since its inception, more than 700 heart, lung, liver and kidney transplants have been performed in children with rates of success on a part with leading medical institutions in the world.