Sharon's Argentinean-born surgical team

jose cohen 298.88 (photo credit: Hadassah)
jose cohen 298.88
(photo credit: Hadassah)
The surgical team that has performed brain surgery three times on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reportedly treats him like any other patient, with no shaky hands or thoughts that the whole nation - and much of the world - is watching. None of them have been permitted by the Hadassah Medical Organization to give interviews since the prime minister was admitted. The chief surgeon is Dr. Jose Cohen, who, five years ago - living and working as a neurosurgeon in Argentina - would never have dreamed that he would perform lifesaving operations on Israel's leader. Cohen, 39, was born and trained as a physician in Rosario, and subsequently specialized in Buenos Aires before coming on aliya four years ago to work at Hadassah. He is on call by his stroke unit 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Regarded as "an angel" by many of his patients, he heads a multidisciplinary team of some 20 physicians, nurses, computer experts, technicians and others. They work in Hadassah-University Medical Center's brain angiography room, said to be the most advanced facility of its kind in the country. Sent by his parents to The Bialik School, where he learned excellent Hebrew and received a Zionist education, Cohen was "ready for plucking" by Israel when he encountered Prof. Felix Umansky, Hadassah's Argentinean-born director of neurosurgery, at a medical conference in Brazil. Umansky, a native Rosario Argentinean himself, heard one of Cohen's lectures about treating acute strokes and invited him to open such a service in Jerusalem. Umansky and Cohen worked together feverishly in the operating theater on Sharon's hemorrhaging brain. Umansky, 62, immigrated in 1973 and did his specialty in neurosurgery at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva. He spent three years in the early 1980s at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Since 1984, Umansky has been at Hadassah, becoming a full professor at the Hebrew University Medical Faculty in 1991. He is an expert in surgery of the base of the skull and has conducted much basic and clinical research on microanatomy of the brain. The three-member anesthesiology team that has taken part in Sharon's surgeries consists of Dr. Yoram Weiss, who was born in Tel Aviv in 1959; and brothers Dr. Ya'acov and Dr. David Gozal, born in 1959 and 1958 in Morocco. They both immigrated from France. Ya'acov has been in charge of anesthesiology in the operating rooms at Hadassah for four years, while David has been responsible for the sedation unit at the hospital.