Staffers at Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya saved the life of a month-old
baby, after performing a treatment never before used in Israel.
government hospital announced Tuesday that the baby was discharged after her
The newborn contracted whooping cough and was hospitalized in
pediatric intensive care. A multidisciplinary team from the pediatric intensive
care department, pediatric pulmonology, the infectious diseases unit and
pediatric hematology cared for the baby, who was infected before her parents
managed to get her vaccinated against the disease.
Dr. Ze’ev Sonis, head
of pediatric intensive care, noted that the disease can be very serious – and
sometimes fatal – in young children. In some cases, there is an increase in
white blood cells due to toxins released by the bacteria that cause the disease
– which in fact caused the baby to develop pulmonary hypertension.
world medical literature, only a few similar cases have been found, and just a
few of these have been successfully treated. Because of the baby’s dangerous
condition, it was decided to replace her blood with infused blood.
procedure was carried out by Sonis; Dr. Yoav Hoffmann and Dr. Yoav Hoffman and
Dr. Husein Dabbah of the pediatric intensive care department;
hematology’s Dr. Amir Kuperman; and Dr. Danny Glickman of the infectious disease
“What led to the decision of blood replacement,” said Kuperman,
“was the awareness that the risk of doing so was less than not doing
so. After consulting with outside experts in the field, we performed it,
and it was a success. It greatly improved the baby’s condition, and she
was weaned from her respirator after weeks of hospitalization. She is the
first Israeli to have been successfully treated for the condition this
Whooping cough can be prevented by vaccinating children in family
health (tipat halav) centers. However, very young babies have sometimes been
infected because they were not old enough to get their shots.
usually infected by relatives – their parents or older siblings. The risk can be
minimized by immunizing pregnant women against whooping cough and completing
vaccination schedules of all family members expecting a baby.
parents emotionally thanked the hospital team for saving her with an expert
diagnosis and treatment.