Jerusalem doctors help Palestinian child with rare foot defect

AVM can appear in various parts of the body, but in the foot area it is especially painful and debilitating.

May 18, 2016 01:26
2 minute read.

HANA ZEITUN poses recently with his father, Malki, and one of the Shaare Zedek doctors who treated him. . (photo credit: Courtesy)


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An eight-year-old Palestinian boy from Beit Jala, who suffered from a rare defect in his foot, is now relived of his pains, thanks to an unusual operation recently carried out at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

The young patient, Hana Zeitun, who has not left his home for years due to his condition, can now get out and play with his friends.

“We, family members, used to take turns massaging his foot night and day to try to alleviate his pain. This was the only thing that reduced his pain along with huge amounts of pain killers. But now the leg has recovered from the surgery and the pain is much reduced,” said Zeitun’s father, Malki.

Hana suffered from arteriovenous malformation (AVM), an abnormal connection between his arteries, taking oxygen from his heart and veins and carrying blood with carbon dioxide and wastes back to the heart – thus bypassing the capillary system.

AVM can appear in various parts of the body, but in the foot area it is especially painful and debilitating.

Symptoms can be noticed soon after birth or several years later.

When Hana’s condition worsened more than two years ago, he was unable to leave his home anymore. All he did was play virtual games on his PlayStation.

He underwent integrated treatment in several hospitals, but none of them succeeded in assisting the child.

Then, blood clots appeared in his vessels. Most of the doctors said he would have to have his leg amputated at the knee.

At this point he was referred to Shaare Zedek in Jerusalem, where Dr. Adam Farkash, head of the hospital’s vascular defects unit, decided to try closing the sickly connections between the blood vessels.

The operation was carried out by Dr. Ehud Lebel, head of the pediatric orthopedics unit, together with pain experts and surgeons. His foot was saved, and he is expected to walk again without crutches.

The Shaare Zedek doctors described Hana as an “incredible child with great powers who understands every stage of his treatment. He always asked to participate in decision making.

“We held many conversations with him to prepare him emotionally for the possibility that he might lose his toes.

Only a small bit of the front of the leg had to be removed and his pain has almost abated.

Today, he is busy thinking of the new shoes he will get,” Farkash said.

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