Netanyahu leaves hospital day after hernia op

PM leaves Hadassah Medical Center, thanks medical team, well-wishers; to return to full workload by end of the week.

PM leaving hernia surgery 370 (photo credit: GPO)
PM leaving hernia surgery 370
(photo credit: GPO)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu left Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem Sunday, less than 24 hours after undergoing an emergency hernia operation, but was not expected to return to a full workload before at least the end of the week.
Netanyahu, 63, who walked out of the hospital arm-in-arm with his wife, Sara, thanked the medical team that carried out the operation, and those citizens who wished him a speedy recovery.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon took over Netanyahu’s authority briefly in the middle of the night while the prime minister was on the operating table and under a general anesthetic.
The prime minister’s authority was returned to him when he woke up from the surgery, following a conversation between cabinet secretary Avichai Mendelblit and Dr. Yuval Weiss, the hospital’s director-general.
Ya’alon chaired the ministerial meeting on Sunday evening to decide which 26 Palestinian prisoners to release prior to the beginning of the negotiations with the Palestinians on Wednesday.
Netanyahu’s personal physician, Tzvi Berkovich, diagnosed Netanyahu with an incarcerated umbilical hernia Saturday afternoon after he complained of severe abdominal pains. Berkovich told Israel Radio that Netanyahu should be able to return to a full workload by the end of this week, or the beginning of the next.
In the meantime, Netanyahu is expected to work and hold meetings in his home. His scheduled meetings for Monday – which included a meeting with US special envoy Martin Indyk, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and a delegation of 26 Republican congressmen – have been canceled and will likely be rescheduled another day this week.
An incarcerated umbilical hernia is a congenital defect more common among babies and women than men.
“Either he carried something heavy or sneezed or it was waiting to happen,” Weiss told The Jerusalem Post.
Umbilical hernia repair is surgery to fix an umbilical hernia, in which a pouch forms from the inner lining of the abdominal cavity that pushes through a hole in the abdominal wall at the navel. An incision is made under the navel, with the surgeon gently pushing the contents of the intestine back into the abdomen. Strong stitches are made to close the hole caused by the hernia. In many cases – including Netanyahu’s – surgeons attach a piece of mesh over the weak area to strengthen the repair.
Although he could have undergone spinal or epidural block anesthesia that would have left him conscious but free of pain, said Weiss, it was decided that it would be safer for him to be put under general anesthesia for an hour.
When he awoke, he was able to walk out of the operating room himself to the recovery room, Weiss said. Keyhole surgery (laparoscopy) was not needed, Weiss added, because the surgery was superficial and not deep.
While umbilical hernias are more common in children, they are still fairly common in adults, especially in overweight people and in women, particularly after giving birth, according to experts.
The operation was performed by Prof. Nissan Aviram, head of Hadassah’s general surgery department, and by veteran Hadassah surgeon Prof. Arie Durst.
Netanyahu was not given special care that ordinary people in the same situation would not have been given, said Weiss. The prime minister was operated on quickly, because surgery should be done within hours of the hernia’s discovery so no necrosis occurs in the event of the tissue being caught in the hole and the blood supply cut off. Without surgery, there is a risk that some fat or part of the intestine would get incarcerated in the hernia and become impossible to push back in.
The risks of surgery for umbilical hernia are usually very low, unless the patient also has other serious medical problems.
Neither Sara nor any of Netanyahu’s sons were present in the hospital at the time of the emergency operation because it was so sudden, Weiss said, but the family arrived later. •