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April 26, 2015 / 7 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Hadassah medical center’

ISIS Fighters in Syria May Be Felled By Lesions (Not Legions)

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

To everything in its season, and so the tide has turned once more in the Middle East. What bombing could not end, God’s Mighty Hand may accomplish with a tiny fly.

Fighters for Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist organization, are now being attacked by a terrible skin disease called Leishmaniasis.

Two types of the disease have been identified in the region: Leishmaniasis major, and Leishmaniasis tropica. Both are carried and transmitted by parasites hosted on sand flies in the environment.

Although an article by Hadassah Medical Center says the disease cannot be transferred from person to person, researchers found in a study published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases in 2003 that such transmission may indeed be possible, since parasites can jump.

An outbreak of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (CL) in the Galilee region of northern Israel in 2003 was discussed in the article which noted 33 cases in four villages and in the city of Tiberias were diagnosed between 1996 and 2003. The disease, which spread through parasites and sand flies, had mutated from its predecessor, Leishmania major and other tropical diseases.

CL due to Leishmania major as opposed to MCL and VL (two other forms) was defined as being zoonotic and much more difficult to treat. The cutaneous lesions were said to last much longer and the disease was described as life-threatening if it progressed to visceral leishmaniasis (VL). The study found that rock hyraxes found in northern Israel around Lake Kinneret were the most probable reservoir hosts for the parasites that carry the disease.

If that is true, then so too is it likely that ISIS fighters are facing a difficult time because it was mentioned that the parasites also jump from person to person, as well from the living animals around them.

More to the point, the disease is caused by poor hygiene and bad living conditions; it has affected at least 100,000 people in Syria, according to the latest reports. It can result in open flesh wounds, ulcers, an enlarged spleen and liver, anemia and ultimately lead to death.

Although it’s pretty easy to treat, there are very few medics and trained medical professionals left in Syria and ISIS-controlled Iraq who know how to manage it.

Volunteers with the Doctors Without Borders organization of course know how to handle it – but since ISIS is deeply dedicated to kidnapping, torturing and murdering those helping hands, it’s not likely they are going to see any help from them. Ditto for Syrian government troops for the same reason.

Ironically, a new project was launched last year by the Israeli Pharmaseed research company to track down a treatment for this disease.

Four partners were recruited for the project. Two of the four — the Dead Sea and Arava Science Centers – identified 70 plant extracts that may be relevant for fighting the parasite.

The Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, meanwhile, will test the efficacy of the extracts on leishmaniasis samples.

Pharmaseed is coordinating the project and is responsible for safety tests, and for assessing the potential efficacy of the extracts being tested.

Jordan University of Science and Technology Prof. Nabil Hailat will carry out advanced live and clinical trials (on humans) in Jordan, which should yield the test results.

That Extra Bit of Comfort to Birthing in Jerusalem

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Having a baby is hard work. But Israel really makes it worth all the effort – starting with one hospital in Jerusalem that seems to have added just one extra bit of comfort to the process.

In the United States – and in most hospitals in Israel as well – the average hospital stay for birthing mothers these days is 48 hours, including two overnights. It’s a big business in Israel especially: 171,207 babies were born in 2013 in the Jewish State, and the government paid the hospital bill for every one.

Many hospitals keep the baby with the mother, relieving the burden on staff and relieving anxiety on the part of the parent. But that means Mom gets a little less sleep — and perhaps has a little more stress, depending on her nature.

Some hospitals also no longer teach mothers how to bathe the baby after the initial clean-up following the birth, leaving that job to be learned at home, presumably under the practiced eye of an experienced relative, friend or local professional. But what if this is a new mother and there’s no one at home to teach or to help?

What if this is baby #4 and it’s been a really tiring couple of days?

Some mothers are eligible to go to a “rest home” center, where the baby is cared for overnight and where Ima can get a good night’s sleep. Some mothers also have extra help at home.

But before all that — and the inevitable chaos that is bound to hit the second the new baby comes in the front door — there is one final send-off for some mothers in Jerusalem.

Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center offers a third, optional night in the hospital’s attached Maternity Hotel for mothers who prefer to be joined by their husbands but still need to rest. Most health plans cover this night, if the patient has the optional rider on their plan. Additional nights are available for a fee.

The hotel, which is managed under the “Hadassah Baby” program, offers a 24-hour baby nursery and provides supervision and care by the hospital medical team.

Located on the medical center’s campus, the Hadassah Baby hotel is part of the regular Ein Kerem hospital hotel, next door to the medical center’s full-service mall. The hotel room includes all the amenities of a regular hotel plus those necessary for a birthing more, and then some. Free workshops and group activities are available, and guests receive daily visits from an obstetrician and pediatrician during their stay.

“Another hospital in Jerusalem was offering a free stroller for new mothers who chose to deliver at their delivery room,” Michal J. told The Jewish Press in an interview in the hospital’s playroom for children after giving birth to a healthy baby girl.

“But I have already had three children, thank G-d, and what I really need more than anything is rest. Lots of rest.”

Her face lit up.

“A night in a hotel made for birthing mothers, with my husband, is just perfect.”

Hadassah Women to Help Bail Out Hadassah Medical Center

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Striking doctors at Israel’s Hadassah Medical Center were joined by non-medical personnel and nurses.

Hospital staff received only half their January salaries due to the center’s $367 million deficit.

Only emergency and birthing services were in operation at the two Hadassah campuses on Monday. The doctors have been on partial strike, offering only urgent treatment on a Sabbath and holiday schedule for nearly a week.

Israel’s Health Minister Yael German announced a financial recovery package offered to the hospital, including a government loan of more than $14 million to be matched by Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Haaretz reported.

The announcement came after the hospital on Friday filed for court protection against its creditors, including employees filing to receive back salaries, after two Israeli banks cut off their lines of credit, according to reports.

The money from the government and Hadassah would allow the hospital to continue operating, but not to pay the back salaries.

In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 News, German said Hadassah’s deficit was the result of too many employees, inflated salaries and difficulty in generating extra revenue from private medical services.

Hadassah Medical Center is one of the largest hospitals in Israel and the only one specializing in head trauma.

 

Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Near Financial Collapse

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem is on the brink of financial collapse, the Forward reported.

The hospital is facing a $300 million deficit, including $80 million accrued in the last year, according to the newspaper.

Efforts by Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America to save the medical center have resulted in a break with the hospital leadership in Israel. The organization has not been able to increase its funding for daily operations of the hospital, the Forward reported, and cash-flow problems caused hospital employees to receive only a partial salary in November.

Last year, during the Hadassah organization’s 100th anniversary celebrations, the group dedicated a state-of-the-art hospital tower fully funded by the organization through a national campaign. The tower is not yet fully operational, however, requiring another $45 million to reach that level.

The four Israeli members of the Hadassah hospital board resigned in October after they were excluded from negotiations with the Israeli government over government funding of the hospital. American representatives of the organization comprise 51 percent of the hospital board and can control its decisions, according to the Forward.

The American Hadassah organization has faced financial difficulties resulting from the world economic downturn and fallout from the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme.

Stephen Hawking Boycotting Company Working on his Cure

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Professor Stephen Hawking now supports the academic boycott of Israel, because of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, the Guardian reported Wednesday, and to show it, he pulled out of the conference that will be hosted in June by Israeli president Shimon Peres in Jerusalem..

Hawking, 71, “the guy who invented time,” as the Big Bang Theory character Penny calls him, is a mega-famous theoretical physicist and the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University. He had initially accepted an invitation to speak at the fifth annual president’s “Facing Tomorrow” conference (possibly the last one, too, since the next president might not be up to it).

Hawking is in very poor health, according to the Guardian. He suffers from a motor neuron disease related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS – also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease), a condition that has progressed over the years. He is almost entirely paralyzed and communicates through a speech generating device.

Last week, the author of “A Brief History of Time” wrote President Peres a brief letter ignoring a good 50% of History, saying he had changed his mind and won’t appear at the much touted conference.

A statement published with Hawking’s approval by the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine, said the reason for the insult to Peres and to Israel is “his independent decision to respect the boycott, based upon his knowledge of Palestine, and on the unanimous advice of his own academic contacts there.”

The Guardian reports that in the four weeks since Hawking’s participation in the Jerusalem event was announced, the great man has been “bombarded with messages from Britain and abroad as part of an intense campaign by boycott supporters trying to persuade him to change his mind.”

It worked. Finally Hawking broke down, and told friends he decided “to follow the advice of Palestinian colleagues who unanimously agreed that he should not attend.”

Here’s the catch: almost a year ago, The Jewish Press ran a story about Israeli scientific advancements in the use of stem cells to treat a variety of serious and debilitating illnesses, resulting in the miraculous recovery of the dean of the Mir yeshiva, Rabbi Refael Shmuelevich, from ALS.

A clinical trial of ALS patients conducted by Israel’s BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics shows their therapy, NurOwn, is safe and well-tolerated by patients, and not only capable of halting the progress of the illness, but can actually reverse the course of the disease, improving the breathing, muscle strength, and speech capabilities of sufferers with nerve damage in the brain and spine.

At the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Rabbi Shmuelevitz was given just 2-4 years to live, until he succumbed to the most severe form of the neuromuscular diseases. Soon his speech became difficult to understand, and he was confined to a wheelchair.

But just one month after beginning an experimental treatment spearheaded at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, Rabbi Shmuelevitz was back on his feet, teaching again at the 7,000-student yeshiva, as he has done for the last 30 years. His recovery was not only touted as a miracle and a joy for the students of the Mir yeshiva, but is being called the first ever recovery from ALS.

The Mayo Clinic is participating in clinical trials of the BrainStorm drug.

It’s possible that next time Professor Hawking comes to Jerusalem, it would be to receive treatment rather than to rebuke the local scientific community.

Except, as a Jewish Press manager commented online: Maybe Hawking just prefers the innovations and gifts the Palestinians have brought to the world… big bangs.

Hawking has visited Israel four times, most recently, in 2006, when he said he was “looking forward to coming out to Israel and the Palestinian territories and excited about meeting both Israeli and Palestinian scientists.”

But as of now, it’s down to just Palestinian scientists.

Both of them.

Israeli Presidential Conference Chairman Israel Maimon responded to Hawking’s announcement saying that his decision was unjustifiable and wrong:

“The academic boycott against Israel is in our view outrageous and improper, certainly for someone for whom the spirit of liberty lies at the basis of his human and academic mission. Israel is a democracy in which all individuals are free to express their opinions, whatever they may be. The imposition of a boycott is incompatible with open, democratic dialogue.”

Malka Fleischer contributed to this report.

Israeli Rescue Operation at the Heart of Arab Samaria

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Dr. Micha Shamir, of Hadassah Resuscitation School and Service, and paramedic Moshe Tzalach went to the city of Shchem in Samaria on Sunday, to move 27-year-old Hilmi Abdul Azizi who had been seriously injured from a gunshot in a clash with Jewish settlers in the village of Qusra, Ma’ariv reported.

Another Arab, Khalid Nafed, was injured in his foot.

“It was crucial for Israel that we save the injured man’s life. Getting into Shchem was unpleasant and we experienced a few moments of fear,” Dr. Shamir told Ma’ariv.

The patient was being treated in a local hospital but his life was in danger and the hospital sought medical help from Israel. Officials contacted Dr. Shamir to ask if he would go to Shchem without a military escort.

“I did not think twice before I agreed,” the anesthesiologist said.

The mission was approved after coordination with the mayor of Shchem and the Israeli Civil Administration, and Palestinian police accompanied the doctor.

“For a decade, there hasn’t been such a mission,” Dr. Shamir said. “We could have easily been kidnapped should someone had decided to do it.”

An unidentified Arab vehicle waited at the entrance to Shchem, and the driver sped past protesters who were clashing with Israeli troops near a military checkpoint. At the same time, in a nearby IDF base, a Yasur chopper was being prepared to fly in and pick up the patient as soon as he was outside the city limits.

“His condition was stable but we had to check him before evacuating him,” said Dr. Shamir. He and the paramedic Tzalach worked for a long time to stabilize the condition of the young man, “Even though we were under a time constraint, we had to check him every quarter of an hour, to see if he responds well to the instrumentation. You can’t just take the injured man out after you see that everything is okay.”

Abdul Azizi was then evacuated by ambulance to a nearby IDF base where the chopper, and a few special forces soldiers was waiting to take him to hospital in Israel.

As they left the Nablus hospital, the Israeli medics saw dozens of Arabs gathering near the hospital.

“This was very unpleasant,” reported Dr. Shamir. “When we entered the hospital, nobody knew about us, but the mission had already been exposed and anyone could have done whatever they wanted,” Shamir said.

The young Arab’s condition continues to be difficult, but, according to Dr. Shamir, his chances of recovery are much higher at the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital than at the local hospital in Shchem.202

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-rescue-operation-at-the-heart-of-arab-samaria/2013/02/28/

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