About a month ago, Joseph, a slim 10-year-old child with deep green eyes, plunged down the elevator shaft of his apartment building, slamming onto the cement five floors below. Thanks to the team of trauma specialists at the Hadassah Medical Organization, he is now tapping out tunes on his tablet with his music therapist.
It had been a cold, rainy night in Kafr Akab, the northernmost neighborhood of Jerusalem, and Joseph had asked his parents if he could go to play with a school friend who lived on the fifth floor. He took the elevator down from his apartment and rang the bell, but his friend wasn’t home. Disappointed, Joseph pressed the elevator button to go back up to his apartment. When the door opened, he stepped forward.
The elevator wasn’t there.
Joseph was rushed to Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem, where Dr. Miklosh Bala, head of the Trauma Unit, and a team of specialists began the long journey to save Joseph’s life—from establishing an airway, to stopping the brain hemorrhage, to closing the thick membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord, to repairing the cracks in his anterior skull base, to recreating his face. Fortunately, Dr. Samuel Moscovici, a senior neurosurgeon, had specialized in skull base microsurgery during a fellowship. And more good fortune: Supporters from Hadassah France had recently donated a sophisticated Kinevo 900 microscope that made the suturing faster and more accurate.
Still, maxillofacial surgeon Adir Cohen commented, “When I first saw Joseph, I wasn’t sure we could do anything.”
Despite the multiplicity of Joseph’s injuries, Hadassah’s team of specialists persevered, continuing to operate all night.
“I’m optimistic that the fractures will heal,” says the pediatric orthopedist. “His brain seems fine,” says the neurosurgeon. “We think he’ll be perfect,” says the maxillofacial surgeon. “It’s the worst case I’ve ever seen where the results are so remarkable.”