Doctors raising funds for Gaza teen’s organ transplant

The life of a 17-year-old Palestinian girl from Rafah in Gaza was saved by Kaplan Medical Center doctors after she fell from a ferris wheel.

September 22, 2011 21:52
2 minute read.
Abir Abu-Nakira

Palestinian girl at Kaplan Medical Center. (photo credit: Courtesy Ofir Levy)

The life of a 17-year-old Palestinian girl from Rafah in Gaza was saved by Kaplan Medical Center doctors after she fell from a malfunctioning ferris wheel near her home and was critically injured.

Three months after the accident, she is out of danger, but her doctors are trying to collect funds to enable her to undergo abroad a small-intestine transplant, which is unavailable here.

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“I wish for peace between us and Israel,” Abir Abu-Nakira said. “Kaplan physicians saved me.”

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Dr. Yoram Klein, director of the trauma and urgent surgery department in the Rehovot hospital, said Abir was brought to Kaplan after being held for four hours in a Palestinian Authority hospital, but the staff couldn’t save her. She was unconscious with severe abdominal injuries, requiring surgeons to perform several lifesaving operations.

In recent days, her condition stabilized, but she still requires a long period of hospitalization. Her small intestine was severely damaged from the fall and is fed by a special tube attached to a vein in a technique unavailable in Palestinian Authority hospitals. A TV set was brought to her bedside to keep her occupied.

Klein said the hospital found an Arabic-speaking teacher who will work with her, and soon, teachers from Ramle will come to Kaplan to help Abir progress in her studies. Family members received permits to enter Israel with help from the hospital.

This week, the teenager whispered her thanks to Kaplan doctors who saved her life.

“Dr. Klein is my angel. He is much more than a doctor; he supports and strengthens me,” she said.

For normal functioning, Abir needs a whole small intestine, which is very complex to transplant and is a rare operation even abroad.

“It is a very expensive operation, but it will improve her life significantly,” said Klein.

“We at Kaplan are doing our best to make things easier for her and make it possible for her to have routine functioning,” he said. “There is no doubt that her condition has improved unrecognizably compared to three months ago.”

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