Hadassah

Home for the Holidays—Made Possible by Hadassah

Thursday, Dec 29 2016

Many appreciative patients are home for the holidays, thanks to the compassionate, complex medical and nursing care they received in the unique family environment of Hadassah Hospital.

One such patient is Katrina. An immigrant from Moldova and caretaker for two disabled individuals, Katrina, age 49, received the liver she needed to save her life, thanks to Hadassah’s doctors going that extra mile to plead her case.

Not only is Israel’s liver transplant waiting list very long--with 1,160 people on it--but a foreign worker such as Katrina is not eligible to be on that list--despite her legal status. When Katrina first became very ill, her family found a donor from Moldova, but when he arrived at Ben Gurion Airport, he was sent home because he had failed to undergo the necessary screening and receive permission from the Israeli Health Ministry to provide a live liver donation.

Katrina’s health continued to deteriorate. By Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, Katrina was in a near vegetative state. While her husband, Paul, was in the intensive care waiting room of the hospital where she was then a patient, he overheard someone talking about Prof. Rifaat Safadi, head of Hadassah’s Liver Unit, and a machine Hadassah has called MARS (Molecular Adsorbents Recirculation System), which washes a patient’s blood and serves as a bridge to the transplant procedure. He hoped MARS could buy his wife some time.

Katrina was transferred to Hadassah and, with intense treatment, she recovered consciousness and overcame a life-threatening infection.  MARS, however, wasn’t enough to save her.  She needed a liver transplant--and she needed it quickly.

Hadassah’s doctors went to bat for her.

The day before Katrina arrived, Dr. Hadar Merhav, head of transplantation surgery, had transplanted, into an Israeli citizen, a liver donated by a Filipino tourist who had died in Israel. He and the entire Hadassah transplant team believed denying Katrina a transplant was a travesty. "A person working legally in Israel for seven years, paying taxes and medical insurance, and providing a unique service for the elderly and disabled cannot and should not be denied lifesaving medical care,” said Dr. Merhav--“especially in light of the frequent use of organs donated by guest workers and tourists who die in Israel. Medically, legally, and ethically, Katrina deserved to be placed on the list."

Dr. Merhav convinced the chairman of the liver committee of the Israel Transplant Center, who enlisted the help of the center's steering committee, which ratified the decision. Because her situation was so dire, Katrina was placed at the top of the list. "Miraculously," Dr. Merhav reported, “within several hours, a liver became available in Haifa.”

Hadassah’s Senior Surgeon Dr. Abed Khalaileh recalls traveling to Haifa at two a.m. to see the liver. There had been reservations initially regarding whether it was good enough for a transplant. After examining the organ, however, Dr. Khalialeh declared it "a doll of a liver."

Dr.  Merhav began performing Katrina's liver transplant on October 21st at three a.m. Five hours later, Katrina had a new beginning to her life.

Katrina recovered well in Hadassah’s Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower and was able to go home. This week she celebrated Christmas with her family in Haifa.

It is the season of celebrating miracles, but also of remembering that miracles don’t happen in a vacuum!

 

Comments

No comments yet.
First Name
Email
Comment
Enter this word:

Related Stories

alt_text

Thursday, Feb 7 2019

Six Miscarriages, a Severe Liver Disease, and a Dream

Oshrat Ohana Nagar was a busy newspaper journalist, a self-proclaimed workaholic, and a mother of two children. Shortly after the birth of her second child, however, she began to experience pain throughout her body.

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Wednesday, Feb 6 2019

Hadassah Hematologist Dina Ben-Yehuda: Healer, Researcher, Mentor, and Dean

During this age of big data and artificial intelligence, Prof. Dina Ben-Yehuda, head of the Hadassah Medical Organization’s Department of Hematology and now also the first female dean of the Hadassah-Hebrew University School of Medicine, believes that the “role of physician as healer is more necessary for patients than ever.”

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Wednesday, Feb 6 2019

Hadassah Eye Specialists Take Their Expertise to Nursing Homes

Saving nursing home residents from the burden of commuting to the hospital for eye examinations, Hadassah Medical Organization ophthalmologists and optometrists have begun bringing their expertise to the seniors’ home setting.

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Monday, Feb 4 2019

Hadassah Breast Imaging Specialist Offers Perspective on Preventive Care

The most important adversary to breast cancer screening is fear, says Dr. Tamar Sella, head of the Marlene Greenebaum Multidisciplinary Diagnostic Breast Center at the Hadassah Medical Organization.

READ MORE ›

Donation Questions

donorservices@hadassah.org

(800) 928-0685

Membership Questions

membership@hadassah.org

(800) 664-5646

Missions Department

missions@hadassah.org

(800) 237-1517

Contact Us

40 Wall Street

New York, NY 10005

support@hadassah.org

More ›

Show More