Home > What we do > Medicine & Healthcare > hMedicine > hMedicine Story

Rehab Medicine at Hadassah: High Expectations and Life Restoring Results

Dr. Isabella Schwartz, head, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

“My dream is that every disabled patient in Israel will believe that Hadassah is the best place for them," says Dr. Isabella Schwartz, head of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Hadassah's Hospital on Mount Scopus.

Born in Siberia, where her parents had been transferred from Kiev as children during the second World War, Dr. Schwartz came to live in Israel after she received her medical education. She began her medical residency at the Hadassah Medical Center, specializing in rehabilitation. “Hadassah is where I began my professional work,” she says, and “Hadassah became my second home.”

For Dr. Schwartz, rehabilitation medicine is a journey. As she explains, the approach to patients is comprehensive and holistic. The rehabilitation multidisciplinary team, comprised of rehabilitation physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, psychologists, social workers, and a dietician, addresses all aspects of the patients’ needs—from the physical to the psychological to the social. The patient, the staff, and the patient’s family form a network, Dr. Schwartz explains.And they become a family.

By the same token, Dr. Schwartz notes that rehabilitation research “is always personal.”

The rehabilitation team investigates what specific interventions would be best to restore an individual patient’s mobility, as well as social and cognitive functioning.For example, she reports, the staff followed up with victims of terror and individuals who suffered traumatic injuries as a result of car accidents and the like. Their research revealed that victims of terror needed to be in treatment longer; they had more complications and more often experienced secondary effects—both physical and psychological.Consequently, the terror victims required follow-up for a longer time period.

One patient that Dr. Schwartz remembers vividly is a teenage terror victim. The young woman’s legs were terribly lacerated, with metal fragments lodged within them.She also suffered from multiple bone fractures. The teen endured more than 10 surgeries.“Hadassah’s orthopedic and vascular surgeons saved her life,” Dr. Schwartz reports.

When she arrived in the rehabilitation unit, however, she was totally distraught. Her spirit was destroyed, she said. In the beginning, she could not move her legs. But, slowly, she progressed—despite developing post-traumatic stress syndrome.Eventually, she returned to school and got her master’s degree. She also got married.“Every year,” Dr. Schwartz reports, “she comes to Hadassah to thank us.”

Hadassah’s successes “have an impact on terror victims around the world,” says Dr. Schwartz, “because we publish our findings. We collaborate with colleagues in America who work with patients in this field.”

Compassionate, well-trained staff coupled with cutting-edge technology makes rehabilitative care at HMO world-class . Patients who suffer a stroke or traumatic brain injury, or have orthopedic or neuromuscular conditions, are among the primary beneficiaries of the multidisciplinary rehabilitation care at Mount Scopus.






View all of our Impact Areas

The rehabilitation department also analyzes the impact of robotic gait devices on patients who are struggling to walk. The team has found, for example, that the Lokomat (a robotic system which includes a harness, a specialized treadmill, and a mechanical system that moves the patient’s legs), in combination with traditional physical therapy, has helped patients who have severe difficulty walking independently. Stroke victims, individuals with multiple sclerosis, and those with spinal cord injuries, who were not able to walk at all before treatment, can now walk by themselves.

One young woman who has benefited from the gait laboratory was a victim of a brain hemorrhage. When she was transferred into the rehabilitation unit, she could neither move nor communicate, except with her husband through small gestures or eye movements.With the help of Hadassah’s rehabilitation team, one year later she was able to speak. Her walking ability, however, was still very limited.Following many assessments and treatments, including injections to reduce spasticity and the use of an orthodic brace to help her put weight on her leg, she was still unable to walk by herself. She then received further evaluation in the department’s gait laboratory. It was decided that she needed another surgery to correct her tendons and muscles to enable her to put sufficient weight on her legs. She is now walking independently!

Dr. Schwartz’ dream is to create specific programs for each chronically disabled population, such as those with cerebral palsy. Her goal is to be able to assess their needs and create personal plans to restore their abilities. To date, Hadassah has developed three such programs—a center for post-polio patients, a center for multiple sclerosis patient rehabilitation, and the gait laboratory. “With the help of Hadassah’s donors,” she notes, “I believe we can help all disabled people in Israel.”

Currently, the rehabilitation department cares for 450 inpatients annually and 100 patients every week in its day care program. “Rehabilitation medicine is unique,” Dr. Schwartz comments.

“It is more than medicine.”

Date: 8/12/2013

Hadassah Stem Cell Expert Speaks at TEDx Conference in Jaffa

FDA Grants Approval for US Clinical Trials of Hadassah-Developed Technology to Treat Fatty Liver Disease

Hadassah Physicians Receive Prestigious Grants and Awards

New Research at Hadassah: Computational Tools Unravel the Mystery of Transient Amnesia

From Life-Threatening Brain Bleed to Birth of a Daughter

Cookbook Author, Rabbi Marks, Spends Last Days at Hadassah's Hospice

Hadassah’s Revolutionary Tipat Halav Clinics of 1920s Featured in Jerusalem Old City Museum

Victims of Terror Share Their Stories of Anguish and Appreciation with Hadassah President

Hadassah’s Advanced Gene Sequencing Changes the Life of a Family from Uzbekistan

IDF Medic Heroically Battles Terrorist, Both Treated at Hadassah

Orthopedic Trauma Turns Tragedy into Innovation at Hadassah

On the Cutting-Edge of Melanoma Treatment: Hadassah’s Protocols and Research

Saving a Newborn from a Life Without Sight

Terrorist and Victim Sent to Hadassah's Hospitals After Third Attack in Two Weeks

Three Sent to Hadassah After Second Jerusalem Terror Attack of the Week

Clinical Trial of Hadassah-Developed Stem Cell Treatment for Macular Degeneration Gets Go-Ahead from FDA

“We Don’t Say ‘No’,” Hadassah Neurosurgeon Explains in Operating on 82-Year-Old Patient

Cutting-Edge Medicine and Research; a Role Model for Peace: A Briefing from the Hospital's Director General

4 Ways Hadassah Hospital is Preparing for Ebola—Just in Case

Hailing from 17 Countries: the 39th Graduation Class of Hadassah’s International Master of Public Health Program

More hMedicine Stories

Hadasit, Hadassah’s Technology Transfer Arm, Reviews 2012’s Accomplishments

When the Hadassah University Medical Center’s physicians suggest a solution to a medical problem which can lead to the development of a new medicine or product, Hadasit, Hadassah’s technology transfer arm, explores its feasibility and supports the promotion of those viable ideas with innovation potential. Although 2012 has been “a year full of challenges for the life science industry,” says Einat Zisman, Hadasit’s Chief Executive Officer, Hadasit still signed 125 agreements for clinical trials, all to be done at Hadassah. In addition, Hadasit signed 15 agreements for cooperation and commercialization of technologies that were developed at Hadassah. Click here to read the latest Newsletter from Hadasit >>

   |  Who We Are  |  What We Do  |  Where We Do It  |  Read About It  |  Join Now  |  Donate  |
  |  Login  |  Contact Us  |  Careers  |  Terms & Conditions  |  
Copyright ©2014 Hadassah is a registered trademark of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America