Newlywed critically wounded in Gaza recovering

Doctor recommends visors for combat troops.

Aharon Karov, the 22-year-old officer from Karnei Shomron who went to war in Gaza a day after his wedding and was critically wounded, is recuperating nicely and due to go for rehabilitation this week. Karov, the parachutist son of the rabbi of the local yeshiva, suffered multiple wounds on January 13 when he entered a house booby-trapped by Hamas. Prof. Pierre Singer, head of intensive care at the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus, said that the young bridegroom had undergone a series of operations, spending 14 hours in surgical theaters for treatment of his acute wounds. Neurosurgery was followed by an operation on his left eye to remove shrapnel, as well as operations on his mouth and jaw, and ear-nose-and-throat surgery - all in one day. "We were very pessimistic when he came in," Singer said. Although his head was protected by his helmet, shrapnel went through his face and his skull. He also suffered wounds to his arms and legs, but his chest and abdomen were protected and suffered no harm. Singer suggested to the IDF chief medical officer, who visited Karov, that he consider equipping soldiers on the battlefield with clear visors such as those covering the faces of ice hockey players. This could prevent many facial and head injuries, the Beilinson specialist said. The IDF doctor "told me the IDF will consider it, and viewed my suggestion positively," Singer said. Last Monday, Karov regained consciousness and was weaned from his respirator, although he continued to receive some sedation to alleviate pain. "He knows what is happening to him, has gradually begun to recognize his relatives and environment and is able to move all four limbs," Singer said. "His vision is also expected to be normal." As far as Singer can tell, Karov has suffered no permanent damage to his brain and will be cognitively normal. However, he will need plastic surgery to repair his nose and will have permanent scars. But his new wife Tzvia, who has been at the Petah Tikva hospital around the clock along with dozens of relatives and friends, is overjoyed to see his progress. "We were amazed by the speedy improvement in his condition," said Singer. "The excellent care on the air ambulance and very aggressive operations and intensive care in the hospital made the difference." He should be discharged four weeks after rehabilitation, which will likely take place at Sheba Medical Center, Singer hoped. Meanwhile, Ben Buchnik, a soldier who was hospitalized at Soroka University Medical Center last Saturday after suffering severe wounds in Gaza, has shown "significant progress." He was treated in the trauma unit for head wounds and underwent neurosurgery, the hospital said. Seven-year-old Uriel Elazarov, who was seriously wounded on January 15 in Beersheba when shrapnel from a Grad rocket penetrated his skull, remains in serious condition, doctors at Soroka said Tuesday.