Electrocuted Romanian Medical Student, Airlifted to Hadassah, Making Progress

Monday, Sep 23 2013

David Fintzi's breathing and eating support have been removed so that he's able to speak freely and to eat once again. He is now receiving physical therapy to regain movement in his burned limbs.
With him above are Occupational Therapist Vicky Hatuel, Plastic Surgery Nurse Fabienne Atal; his mother, Manuela Fintzi and National President Marcie Natan.
"We all love David," relates Ms. Atal, "and are doing everything we can to help."

A Romanian medical student who has been hospitalized at Hadassah since he was airlifted to Israel after being electrocuted on a sightseeing electric train in Moldavia, has just regained his ability to speak thanks to insertion of a speech valve.

Nineteen-year-old David Fintzi’s first words to his parents were questions about where he was and why he wasn’t in medical school. David had been on a trip to visit a friend in Iasi, Moldavia when he was hit with 27,000 volts of electricity.

No one knows exactly how it happened. Somehow, David had touched the electric cable—perhaps leaning out the open window to take a photograph. Initially, David was helicoptered to a hospital in Bucharest.The treatment he received there, however, failed to improve his condition.

The Jewish community rallied around his distraught parents, Andre and Manuela Fintzi.

"I'm not sure when the idea of moving him to Israel came up," says Andre, a movie and stage actor. "But over and over, the idea was floated that Israel had enormous experience in burns because of all the wars. First we decided on Israel, and then on Hadassah.” The Jewish Agency got involved and plans were made to send Hadassah’s air ambulance to pick David up and bring him to Israel. Ironically, David, who had been completing training as a youth movement counselor, was planning to visit Israel later in the summer, but instead, he was airlifted to the Hadassah Medical Center, fighting for his life.

As they took off to reach the necessary height of 37,000 feet, David's oxygen saturation fell, and bells started to ring. "We had to take him off the respirator at intervals and manually provide oxygen," relates Dr. Marc Romaine, an internist who accompanied David.

For Andre Fintzi, that was the most frightening part of the journey. "I am sensitive to facial expression, and three times I could see Dr. Romaine look very worried when the bells rang," he said. "I was terrified that we were losing David."

But two and a half hours after takeoff, they landed in Jerusalem and an ambulance brought David to Hadassah.

With his recovery progressing well, David has now been moved from the Intensive Care Unit to a single room in the Sara Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower’s Department of Plastic Surgery, where he is in a special isolation room to guard against infection.

“The room is so wonderful,” said his father, Andre Fintzi. “It enables us to be with him around the clock, to help in his care, and to give him comfort.” He added: “I realize even more now that Hadassah was the bridge from death to life for my son.”

Read a heartfelt letter about David Fintzi's story by National President Marcie Natan


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