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In death, he bequeathed life
Last week, Givati commando Uri Jerbi succumbed to his wounds after he was fatally injured in Gaza. Over the past few days, Schneider Children's conducted two transplant surgeries when his liver lobe was transplanted into a 6-month-old infant while a 6-year-old girl received one of his kidneys
Date: 04.02.24 | Update: 05.02.24
Last week, Givati commando Uri Jerbi succumbed to his wounds after he was fatally injured in Gaza. Over the past few days, Schneider Children's conducted two transplant surgeries when his liver lobe was transplanted into a 6-month-old infant while a 6-year-old girl received one of his kidneys.
The liver lobe was transplanted in Yitzhak, who from the age of only 3 weeks, was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia, a rare disorder affecting 1:15000 infants where the bile ducts become blocked at birth or just after birth. The blockage causes recurrent pressure on the liver and the accumulation of scars that could develop in the long run to cirrhosis of the liver or liver failure. Following the diagnosis, Yitzhak underwent a Kasai procedure where a renewed connection was created for the bile ducts. Nonetheless, Yitzhak had to be frequently brought by his parents to hospital due to his deterioration, until it reached a point of no return necessitating a transplant.
Yaacov, Yitzhak's father, prepared to donate a liver lobe to his son, but at the last minute, prior to arriving at the hospital for the operation, the family received notification that a liver had been donated. The operation began at Soroka Hospital in Beersheva, where the liver was removed from the body of Uri z"l, and transported directly to Schneider Children's. The transplant ensued for 6 hours after which Yitzhak was transferred initially to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and afterwards to Pediatrics C where his recovery will be monitored until his discharge.
Yaacov noted that "when Schneider called us with the news that a donation had been found for Yitzhak, we were told to arrive immediately at the hospital. My parents said that they had heard that same day that a soldier by the name of Uri had been killed in Gaza, and that his mother had said in an interview that he had donated his organs, which included a liver lobe for a 6-month-old infant. We understood that he was in fact the organ donor for our son. Of course we contacted the mother at once and thanked her. I think that this war has taught us to put all arguments aside and rather see the unity and sharing. In the end, we are all one people, and here at Schneider, it is so apparent, saving lives crosses all sectors and creeds. It is absolutely amazing in my opinion. We are deeply grateful for the donation we received, and thank the outstanding team that treated our son in the hospital."
Naomi Mor, mother of Uri Jerbi z"l, said that "on the way to Uri's funeral, we heard that his liver had been transplanted into a 6-month-old infant and a kidney into a girl of 6. During his life, Uri always looked first at the others and only afterwards at himself, and therefore I feel that his donation typifies him totally. There are those whose deaths are final, but for us, there is great comfort in the fact that because of Uri, children's lives were saved."
Dr. Michael Gurewitz, Head of the Liver Transplantation Unit at Schneider, added that "there are no words to describe the excitement of the operating room staff in such a complex situation. The knowledge that a soldier saved lives by giving his own life gives no rest. While battling for our home, we are busy saving the life of a child, and we acknowledge the privilege given us to save lives. Each child is an entire world, and we are on the side granting life and fighting for the lives of children."
Schneider Children's conducts the majority of organ transplantations in children in Israel. Since its inception, the hospital has performed over 700 transplants of heart, lungs, liver and kidneys in infants, children and adolescents at a rate of success on a par with the best medical centers in the world.