Hadassah Medical Center delegation saves Ukrainian child's life

The child, two-year-old Alex, and his mother had just escaped from Kharkiv and Alex needed three abdominal surgeries for intestinal blockage.

Members of the Hadassah Medical Center humanitarian delegation with Alex and his mother. (photo credit: HADASSAH UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER)
Members of the Hadassah Medical Center humanitarian delegation with Alex and his mother.
(photo credit: HADASSAH UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER)

The Hadassah Medical Center delegation to the Ukraine-Poland border saved a child refugee's life, according to the hospital.

The child, two-year-old Alex, and his mother went to the Hadassah emergency medical clinic in Przemyśl, Poland. They had just escaped from Kharkiv and Alex needed three abdominal surgeries for intestinal blockage.

Under the threat of Russian artillery fire, the team had to stop in the middle of surgery at one point when the city was attacked, Dr. Mohamad Hadhud, a pediatrician from Hadassah Ein Kerem and a member of the Hadassah delegation, said.

In a previous operation, a Ukrainian surgeon had created a stoma, an opening through which the feces goes from the intestine into a stoma bag, which is a temporary solution.

However, by the time Alex and his mother arrived at the clinic, the bag had become dislodged, leaving his intestines painfully exposed.

Members of the Hadassah Medical Center humanitarian delegation with Alex and his mother. (credit: HADASSAH UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER)Members of the Hadassah Medical Center humanitarian delegation with Alex and his mother. (credit: HADASSAH UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER)

After sanitizing the operation area, the medical staff put Alex's intestines back into place and replaced the bag in preparation for further surgery.

"When we finished taking care of Alex, the boy became more relaxed, and at last he smiled and laughed," Hadhud said. "There's no doubt that a serious infection was prevented that would have put his life very quickly at risk. Once the stomach is open and no sterility is maintained, as happened here, the situation may deteriorate to a place of no return."

"This situation, in which a child so small comes along and they have had to stop his surgery right in the middle - only illustrates what entire families are going through, families who, in a moment’s time, are torn apart from their lives," Hadhud added. "I am glad that we, a team of pediatricians and nursing staff from Hadassah, were there just at the right time to help, and that Alex and his mother said goodbye to us with smiles and hugs."