Feb 14, 2018
7-Year-Old Needed an Emergency Kidney Transplant; In a rare decision, his grandmother donated a kidney and saved his life. The transplant was performed at Schneider Children’s Medical Center
Schneider Children’s Medical Center recently performed a kidney transplant in 7-year-old Rafael Hadad of Petach Tikva, who suffered kidney failure and needed an urgent kidney transplant. His grandmother, Ayala, donated a kidney to save his life. From the moment she heard that her grandson needed a transplant, Ayala Hadad, a grandmother of 5, did not hesitate and decided to donate a kidney to him. The medical and nursing teams at Schneider Children’s are used to cases where parents donate organs to save their child’s life, but this situation moved even the veterans among them. Dr. Sigal Eisner, a senior physician in the Organ Transplantation Department at Schneider Children’s, said that “a grandmother who donates a kidney to a grandchild is unusual, and it is very important for families to know that relatives who are not parents and who wish to donate a healthy kidney and are found compatible after broad testing, may do so and thus save a life.”
Ayala said emotionally, “When I was found to be a suitable donor, I thanked God for the privilege of giving a gift of life while I am alive. I feel that this was a mission and a great honor which I did wholeheartedly and with love. The transplant took place on Tu B’Shvat, a festival that marks growth and the planting of seeds of hope. I am indebted to the angels in the human image of Dr. Michael Gurevich and Dr. Sigal Eisner and all whose efforts save lives, who know how to implant the gift of life in people.”
The operation was performed by staff in the Organ Transplantation Department at Schneider Children’s: senior transplant surgeons Dr. Sigal Eisner and Dr. Michael Gurevich and anesthetists Dr. Yair Manvich and Dr. Yelena Zeitlin. Immediate post-operative care was conducted in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit headed by Dr. Elhanan Nahum, and long-term follow up by the Institute of Nephrology headed by Prof. Miriam Davidovits. The transplant was coordinated by Nurse Naomi Zanhandler. Rafael progressed well and was transferred shortly after to the Surgery Department headed by Dr. Irit Krause.
An organ transplant from a living donor is a complex procedure requiring special preparation of hospital teams including pediatric transplant surgeons, anesthetists, ultrasound technicians, surgical nurses, intensivists and other specialists. During the operation, both donor and recipient are placed in adjoining operating rooms. Once the kidney is removed from the donor, it is transferred for immediate implantation into the recipient.
Schneider Children’s performs the majority of organ transplantations in children in Israel and is among one of the first pediatric institutions in the world that is able to conduct living-related liver lobe transplants in children. Since its founding, Schneider Children’s has conducted over 500 organ transplantations of the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys in infants, children and adolescents with a success rate on a par with leading pediatric institutions around the globe.