A few weeks ago, a 61-year-old Christian tourist from Russia died in Israel after a heart attack; her organs, though, lived to save two lives.
During a pilgrimage to the holy Christian sites in Israel, the woman suffered extensive brain damage and was immediately admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at the Hadassah Medical Organization. After numerous efforts to save her life were unsuccessful, she was pronounced brain dead.
Kyrill Grosovsky, the organ transplant coordinator at Hadassah, located the woman's two adult children in Russia and spoke with them. They decided to donate their mother's organs, and asked that their mother be buried in Jerusalem, as she was a religious woman and this would be something she would want.
Because of the organ transplants performed at Hadassah last week, a 55-year-old man suffering from Hepatitis B with a malignant liver tumor received a new liver. The recipient is a new immigrant, who had moved to Israel last August. He is currently recuperating in Hadassah Hospital Hospital-Ein Kerem's surgical ward.
Another patient, a 63-year-old man suffering from diabetes and hypertension, received a new kidney. He has already been released from the hospital. The organ transplants were performed simultaneously by Dr. Hadar Merhav, Director of the transplantation unit at Hadassah, and Dr. Abed Khalaileh and Dr. Muhammad Faroja.
Although it was not his responsibility, Grosovsky decided to make sure that the Russian woman received a dignified funeral. He embarked on a mission that became more challenging every hour.
The process took several days and included talks with various government authorities in Israel, but also in Russia and the Ukraine, as well as with various figures from the Greek Orthodox Church in Israel and in Russia. Grosovsky was able to attain all the necessary documents needed for the woman's burial.
The funeral took place a few days ago and a photograph of the woman's grave was sent to her family back in Russia. Hadassah also arranged for a wreath with the word "Hadassah" in Russian on it.
"This whole event emphasizes both the international and humane aspects of organ transplantation, as well as love for one's fellow man," said Dr. Merhav. "Hadassah is proud to be an institution that is open to all, regardless of religion, race or gender. The complexity of this situation also shows the need for multidisciplinary teams from all hospital departments with the ability to operate in real-time situations."