Kazakh boy will walk again after surgery in Israel

Cerebral palsy patient gets free treatment at expense of Assaf Harofeh Medical Center and Foreign Ministry.

Kazakh CP patient 390 (photo credit: Assaf Harofeh Medical Center)
Kazakh CP patient 390
(photo credit: Assaf Harofeh Medical Center)
A gifted 12-year-old boy from Kazakhstan whose cerebral palsy (CP) prevented him from walking independently has had a successful operation and is undergoing extensive rehabilitation at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Tzrifin – at the hospital’s and the Foreign Ministry’s expense.
Pavel (Pasha) Sadyshev and his mother have been staying free at the state hospital’s minihotel since early January so he could undergo the surgery and the physical therapy for his severe orthopedic problem.
His CP caused him to walk with difficulty on tiptoes beginning in his toddler years, while using crutches frequently caused him to tip over. His muscles and ligaments had shortened and stiffened in recent years, making his situation progressively worse.
As the parents of the only child are unemployed, they could not afford the surgery, rehabilitation, accommodations and travel expenses. Since Pavel’s case was unusual, the government and hospital director-general Dr. Benny Davidson agreed to foot the medical bills.
The family, who live in a small town near Astana, were blessed by the fact that last September, Dr. Simona Bar Haim, Assaf Harofeh’s veteran physiotherapist and neurophysiology researcher, had been invited to Kazakhstan for the second time to lecture on her experience in the field.
During her visit to Astana’s Republican Children’s Rehabilitation Center, Bar Haim met a number of children, including Pavel, who desperately needed help. Israel’s ambassador to Kazakhstan Israel Mei-Ami, and his wife Ayala, asked the senior physiotherapist to examine him. After doing so, she predicted that with surgery and treatment in Assaf Harofeh, the boy would be able to walk like Israeli children born with CP that developed just before or during delivery.
The Israeli embassy, in cooperation with Eximbank Kazakhstan and Turkish Airlines, arranged a flight for Pavel and his mother.
After examination by Dr. Lionel Copeliovitch, director of orthopedics at the Tzrifin hospital, the operation was performed five weeks ago. The plaster casts were removed from his legs recently, allowing him to undergo rehabilitation on a daily basis and then return to the hospital hotel. He will need another month of this rehabilitation, said Bar Haim.
“He is very intelligent,” Copeliovitch told The Jerusalem Post. “He suffered no mental disability as a result of his birth disorder, only CP. He speaks Russian and has learned some words in Hebrew. His pain from before and after the operation is receding. Pavel and his mother are so, so grateful for his treatment here.”
The doctor said his hospital performs a few dozen such procedures on Israeli children each year, most of whom are between the ages of five and 13.
Bar Haim added that her hospital is recognized worldwide for its expertise in the field, which began with its treatment of child victims of the polio epidemic in the 1950s.
Many Kazakh citizens with CP go untreated because of the country’s lack of knowhow in the field.
As Kazakhstan is landlocked, Bar Haim took the boy to the sea for the first time in his life.
In addition, he was provided with a laptop computer so he could communicate with his father and other relatives via Skype.