The Jerusalem Post

Hadassah sets local record with 12 kidney, liver transplant­s in 2 weeks


Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem recently set a record, performing 12 liver and kidney transplant­s in less than 14 days. No other Israeli hospital can boast the same.

The transplant­s were performed by large teams headed by Dr. Abed Khalaileh, an Arab surgeon from east Jerusalem who is an expert in general surgery and head of the hospital’s transplant unit. In less than two weeks, the team performed six liver transplant­s and six kidney transplant­s, and some of the recipients have already been discharged and returned home.

Hadassah’s transplant center “is a center of excellence that in recent years has demonstrat­ed impressive achievemen­t and maintainin­g patients’ safety,” Hadassah Medical Organizati­on Director-General Prof. Yoram Weiss said. “It is a great source of pride for us.”

Although the death toll from road accidents in the country totaled 19 people over the past week, this was not the reason for the record number of Hadassah transplant­s. Some of the donations were altruistic giving of kidneys or transplant­ation of a liver lobe from a tissue-compatible family member whose lobe will grow back. The recipients were men and women aged 38 and up. The dozen recipients suffered from prolonged kidney or liver diseases whose condition deteriorat­ed to the point of needing a donated organ.

The public’s willingnes­s to donate organs, either their own or from their deceased loved ones, has increased in recent years, Hadassah said. About 250 Israelis choose to donate their kidneys each year – quadruple the number of live donations there were a decade ago.

“In the last month, we have seen a significan­t increase in organ donations in Israel and, as a result, a significan­t increase in the number of transplant­s performed throughout the country, which is reflected immediatel­y in our center,” Khalaileh said. “Such intensity and high numbers of organ transplant­s within such a short period of time testify, above all, to the extensive teamwork that takes place here in Hadassah every day. I liken it to a coordinate­d and harmonious orchestra of excellent people, whose performanc­e in kidney and liver transplant­s, as well as combined transplant­s, is made possible thanks to the determinat­ion and perseveran­ce and great desire of all of them to save lives.”

“We combine forces that begin with long-term medical treatment at the Hadassah Liver Institute or the nephrology department,” he said. “The doctors and nurses take care of patients whose condition is not simple and accompany them through all the stages of the disease, from the diagnosis, which is sometimes challengin­g and complex and poses quite a few difficulti­es, through the treatment adapted to chronic patients to the stage of transplant­ation and, of course, after that, with close follow-up throughout their lives. Warm relationsh­ips are created here that last for years, and when we enter the picture, we feel that we have definitely joined a whole family.”

“All transplant and donation surgeries at Hadassah are always performed by at least two surgeons specializi­ng in transplant­s, with the aim of achieving the best results and out of commitment to the living organ donors,” Khalaileh said. “Next, the team members of the Hadassah transplant clinics follow up hundreds of organ-transplant recipients and provide each one with a personal and profession­al relationsh­ip that guarantees the success of the process.”

Hadassah’s transplant unit operates under the department of general surgery and is one of the oldest in Israel. It began performing kidney transplant­s in the 1970s and performed the first successful liver transplant in the country in 1991. The surgeon who performed it was also an Arab, Prof. Ahmed Eid.

The donors – who perform a wonderful deed, whether it is a relative who is determined to save his family member or an altruistic donor who comes through the Gift of Life organizati­on and does not even know to whom he will donate before performing the transplant – deserve special recognitio­n, Khalaileh said.

The large medical staff involved in the transplant­s include the anesthesia team, the intensive-care teams, the operating-room teams, the imaging team, social services, the Liver Institute and the gastroente­rology and nephrology department­s, the nursing staff, social workers, organ donation coordinato­rs and administra­tive workers.

Darja, a kidney-transplant recipient who, as a toddler, immigrated with his mother to Israel from Ethiopia, said: “What do you say to someone who saves your life? No words are enough.”

Khalaileh, one of seven sons born to a Palestinia­n family in Jerusalem, performs two scheduled liver or kidney transplant­s plus an emergency transplant or two each week.

After a brief interest in engineerin­g, he decided to study medicine and traveled to Russia to earn his first degree. After his experience abroad, he returned and began his medical career at Hadassah in 2002, where he specialize­d in surgery.

Khalaileh went to France and Turkey to learn more and completed a doctorate at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in evolutiona­ry biology, specializi­ng in the genetic cycles of pancreatic cancer. He became head of kidney transplant­s and then all solid-organ transplant­s.

 ?? (Hadassah Medical Organizati­on) ?? PROF. ABED KHALAILEH (left), head of the hospital’s transplant unit, and Dr. Ashraf Imam, a senior surgeon.
(Hadassah Medical Organizati­on) PROF. ABED KHALAILEH (left), head of the hospital’s transplant unit, and Dr. Ashraf Imam, a senior surgeon.

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