1st intestinal transplant in Israel performed on 16-year-old girl

Organ donations allow seven transplants in two days.

transplant doctors 88 (photo credit: )
transplant doctors 88
(photo credit: )
An American surgeon experienced in performing rare transplants of the small and large intestines, pancreas, stomach and liver has been flown to Israel to perform such a surgery on a 16-year-old girl who has been unable to digest solid food since she was four years old. It will take at least a week to know whether the 14-hour operation, performed by a team headed by Prof. Andreas Tzakis of Miami's Jackson Memorial Medical Center, was successful. Israel Transplant and the Schneider Children's Medical Center for Israel held a special meeting together with transplant surgeons, anesthesiologists and other experts to look into the possibility of doing the quintuple organ transplant, which included all five attached organs, because leaving the system in one piece increased the operation's chance of success. Tzakis was fortunately on vacation in Greece and immediately agreed to come to Israel to perform the surgery. The Health Ministry's associate director-general Dr. Boaz Lev and Dr. Yitzhak Berlovich, who is in charge of transplants, issued Tzakis a special permit to do the very complicated operation. The 16-year-old recipient, who lost most of her intestines to surgery as a small girl, has been receiving IV nutrition and has never tasted food since then. Until now, Israeli children who needed intestinal transplants were flown to the US and returned to Schneider in Petah Tikva for follow-up treatment. But the urgency of her case, the training of some Schneider personnel abroad and the proximity of Tzakis made it possible to do the surgery here. On Tuesday, the patient was breathing on her own and in stable condition. The families of Omri, who died when a cave he dug collapsed on him, and a 34-year-old woman from Umm el-Fahm who died of complications from Down Syndrome, agreed to donate their loved ones' organs, allowing seven transplants to go ahead since Monday. In addition to the intestines, pancreas, and liver that were transplanted in the 16-year-old girl, an eight-year-old girl received a heart; a nine-year-old boy received the lungs; and four kidneys were transplanted in a 53-year-old woman, two men in their 50s and a four-year-old boy.