Friends of Schneider Children's

of Schneider Children's
Magazine of the Association of Friends of Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel
Volume 2 • November 2007
The Pin – and the Safety
Catheterization obviates Surgery Page 3
Checking Kidneys With Heart
Quality of Life for children with kidney
failure Pages 8-9
Thank You!
Friends of Schneider Children’s pays tribute
to its many donors Page 14
Opening Lines
SCHNEIDER CHILDREN’S MEDICAL CENTER OF ISRAEL is the only comprehensive, tertiary
care hospital of its kind in the country and indeed in the entire Middle East, dedicated
exclusively to the well-being of all children from the time of birth and beyond. Offering
the full range of pediatric specialties, Schneider Children’s also receives patients from
the Palestinian Authority and Jordan, and from as far away as Africa, Asia and Eastern
Europe, thus fulfilling its mandate to serve as a “bridge to peace” in the region. Since its
establishment in 1992, Schneider Children’s has become recognized for its medical and
academic excellence, and today it is considered one of the leading pediatric care centers
in the world. The medical center owes its establishment and name to its founders and
major benefactors, Irving and Helen Schneider of New York, USA.
Dear Friends,
During the past year, Schneider Children’s initiated several
major projects and advanced others, all of which have
one objective - improving the health and well-being of
sick children: reconstruction of the Cardiac Intensive
Care Unit within the Department of Cardiothoracic
Surgery; relocation of the Day Care Hospitalization
Department which will vacate space for the expansion
of the Emergency Room; construction of a second
catheterization lab; and installation of an advanced
gamma camera for Nuclear Medicine. In addition, more
than 53,000 children and adolescents from all over the
country were treated in the Emergency Room (ER), 18
organ transplantations took place including liver, kidney
and heart, and 24 bone marrow transplantations were
conducted. It is with much warmth and admiration that
we express our appreciation to the staff of the hospital for
their outstanding achievements as well as to our generous
donors for their welcome support. There is no substitute
for your efforts and dedication!
With appreciation, The Editorial Board
Five-Star Rating
Schneider Children’s was recently voted the most beautiful
hospital in Israel by the Council for a Beautiful Israel.
Current Concern:
Supporting Special Needs
Frequently, the diagnosis of a severe disease in a child is
accompanied by difficult consequences that complicate the
family’s ability to cope with the situation. The Association of
Friends has undertaken – in addition to the development and
advancement of the hospital – to support the humanitarian
needs of sick children and their families such as out-of-basket
medications, special dietary needs for children on dialysis, or
dental care for organ transplant recipients who commonly
suffer from caries. “Sometimes, assistance involves simple
matters such as transport to the hospital for treatment,” says
Dr. Aviva Ron, Chair of the Association’s Executive Committee.
“An organ transplant recipient cannot travel on public
transport for fear of contracting an infection, and not every
parent has a car. If parents cannot afford a taxi, based upon the
recommendation of the hospital’s Social Services, we provide
the necessary means so that the child can continue treatment
critical to his health.” At the same time, the Association of
Friends advocates children’s needs. “Our aim is to ensure that
not one child will be without the required medication because
his parents do not have the money,” concludes Dr. Ron.
Friends of Schneider Children's
The Association of Friends, a registered Israeli non-profit, accords
socially-conscious individuals and organizations in Israel and
abroad with an opportunity to connect to the heart of great
accomplishment. Giving to Schneider Children's is an emotional
partnership that grants the donor immeasurable satisfaction –
both in the spirit of giving and in the knowledge that every shekel
will reach its objective. A contribution to Friends of Schneider
Children's is aimed towards one sole objective - saving lives and
improving the quality of life of sick children (see page 16).
Cover photo: Dr. Miriam Davidovits and patient, Dialysis Unit
Magazine of the Association of Friends of
Schneider Children's (Reg. 580168987)
Volume 2
November 2007
Tishrei 5769
Editor-in-Chief: Ziva Caspi; English Editor: Cynthia Barmor; Editorial
Board: Dr. Aviva Ron (Chair of the Executive Committee), Riva Shacked,
Ronit Singer; Writing, Graphics and Production: Sarig Ra'ayonot; Contact:
[email protected]; Association Offices: 14 Kaplan Street, Petach Tikvah 49202;
Tel: 03-9221748, 03-9253481; Fax: 03-9210784;
Gifts Of Life
The Pin – and the Safety
First in the world: Open safety pin removed from
child’s lung using the technique of catheterization
obviates surgery and excision of part of the lung
Even after the successful removal of hundreds of foreign objects
from airway passages, this was a first for Schneider Children’s
specialists: a child of four arrived at the hospital with an open
safety pin lodged in his lung which had been there for about a
month. “The open safety pin caused a high fever and represented
an immediate danger to the child’s health,” said Dr. Tommy
Schonfeld, Director of the Pediatric Intensive Care
Unit. Imbedded deep in the lung, the pin could
have punctured the airway passages at any time
resulting in hemorrhaging and other complications.
The bronchoscope, the instrument normally used
to remove foreign bodies, was unable to reach the
pin due to its depth in the lung.
In order to obviate surgery that would have involved
partial excision of the lung, Dr. Schonfeld consulted
with Dr. Einat Birk, Director of the Cardiology
Institute, Dr. Elchanan Bruckheimer, Director of the
Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory and Dr. Yoram Stern, senior
ENT physician. The team devised a novel approach: to try and
remove the pin via catheterization, a technique mainly used for
precise invasion of blood vessels. The creative idea became a
reality through impressive teamwork that pooled the cumulative
experience and knowledge of Schneider’s experts. Doctors
Dr. Elhanan Bruckheimer (l) and Dr. Tommy Schonfeld (r) with the patient
imitated the catheterization technique
and applied it to the airways, successfully
reaching deep into the lung. With the
help of a catheter, which has a much smaller circumference than
the bronchoscope, cardiologists successfully closed the safety
pin and then, assisted by the ENT specialist, gradually removed it
from the child’s body.
As far as is known, this is the first time in the world that the removal
of a foreign object has been performed via catheterization.
Rare Operation: Liver Transplant in an Infant
After reducing 20 kgs, the mother donated a liver lobe, the doctors donated knowledge and skill
– and the 15-month-old infant was reborn at Schneider Children’s
In a rare circumstance at Schneider Children’s,
a mother’s dieting helped to save the life of her
daughter of 15 months who needed an urgent
liver transplant due to congenital liver disease.
Once she was found to be compatible, the mother
volunteered immediately to donate a liver lobe to
her daughter and lost about 20kgs in weight so
that the lobe would suit the size of the child. There
was also an additional complication that provided
an exceptional challenge for the medical team: the
infant was born with displaced organs. This was
the first time that surgeons at Schneider Children’s
transplanted an organ under such unusual
conditions. Thanks to their wide experience
and thorough preparation, the operation was
completed successfully. The surgery and related
developments was filmed and documented in a
movie called “I Gave You My Life” and screened on
Israel TV’s Health Channel.
New Endeavors
Skiing with New Organs
Thanks to the generosity of a donor, six children
who underwent organ transplantation at
Schneider Children’s attended a special ski
camp in Switzerland for pediatric organ
recipients, and returned with the sense that
anything is possible
The successful transplantation of a liver or kidney is only the
beginning of a long road towards a healthy and normal life. Six
children, who underwent transplantation surgery at Schneider
Children’s, vacationed this past winter at a special ski camp for
pediatric organ recipients that takes place every year in Davos,
Switzerland. This is the third consecutive year that a delegation
from the hospital has attended the camp. Their participation
was made possible due to an anonymous contribution to the
Association of Friends. The children were accompanied by family
members and Nurse Rachel Beregin, Transplant Coordinator at
Schneider Children’s, and were also honored by a visit from
the Israeli Ambassador to Switzerland. The group returned full
of excitement and awed by the challenging and enjoyable
experience of being with 70 other children like themselves from
all over the world. Most importantly, they proved that through
courage, motivation and the proper support, they could ski
safely towards a normal life and be like other children.
Summer Camp for Burn Survivors
For the fourth consecutive year, Camp Susquehanna invited burn
survivors treated at Schneider Children’s to join their peers in the USA
About 35 campers
– all burn survivors, and
including youngsters
who had been treated
at Schneider Children’s
– participated in Camp
Susquehanna for three
days of nonstop fun
USA. Typical summer
activities, from ball
games to canoe trips
courses, were enjoyed
by the participants who
came from all over the
world. Some campers had visible scars, while others had scars that were easily concealed
under clothing; but all shared the common horror of burns resulting from explosions, fires
or car accidents. A unique experience of being together with like others was celebrated,
and the happy campers left Susquehanna with a renewed sense of comfort and peace.
Bridge to Peace
Delegation from
Bethlehem’s Caritas Baby
Hospital promotes ties
Under the aegis of the Austrian
Embassy in Tel Aviv, a delegation of
senior hospital personnel from the
Palestinian Authority’s Caritas Baby
Hospital in Bethlehem visited Schneider
Children’s recently. The objective of the
visit was to explore mutual programs
and ties together with possible
advanced training of Arab medical
personnel at Schneider Children’s. A
similar delegation from Schneider
Children’s will reciprocate the visit and
arrange for about 25 selected staff
members from Caritas Baby Hospital
(doctors and nurses in the main) to each
spend periods of two weeks training at
Schneider Children’s.
Lab Needed
Catheterizations in children are very different and far more
complicated than those performed on adults. Each procedure
can take several hours and only a maximum of 2 - 3 children
can be treated per day. The number of procedures performed
at Schneider Children’s has shown a significant increase of some
20% every year. This steady trend is due both to continued
referrals as well as to the introduction of new techniques that
obviate open-heart surgery for the treatment of Congenital
Heart Defects.
The Pediatric Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Schneider
Children’s - the largest such center in Israel - was established
14 years ago. Although the equipment is still in excellent
condition, it is unable to support the latest technologies such
as reduced radiation, enhanced 3-D imaging and speedier
procedures. Since Schneider Children’s caters to children, there
are corners that cannot be compromised. In order to meet
all requirements, a new state-of-the-art laboratory has been
Last year, Schneider Children’s conducted 516 pediatric
cardiac catheterizations, marking the 8th consecutive
year showing an increase in the numbers of patients;
despite intensive efforts, there is still a 4-month waiting
list; the addition of a second catheterization room is
pressing; the estimated cost is over $2 million
planned to adjoin the existing catheterization lab.
The new lab will be equipped with the most advanced
biplane imaging equipment for both pediatric cardiac and
peripheral interventional radiology. The coordinated service
will accommodate the increasing demand for interventions
that are currently performed at the neighboring adult medical
center. The total number of procedures in both labs will reach
1,300-1,500 a year.
The cost of the new laboratory is estimated at over US$2 million.
Only about half that amount has been raised from private
donations. The Association of Friends of Schneider Children’s
has undertaken to help raise the balance.
Mobilizing for the new Cath Lab
Schneider Children’s has been fortunate to obtain funding from donors in the United States, through Medical Development for
Israel, Inc., towards the acquisition of new equipment for the multimillion dollar cath lab. However, further funding of some $1
million is still needed to support construction costs and complementary apparatus such as a multipurpose ultrasound ($175,000)
and a hemodynamic recorder system ($100,000).
Connecting With Children
Supernatural Visit, Regular Size
Para-normalist Uri Geller bends spoons with
hospitalized children urging them to “think positive”
Brainstorming about Brain Tumors
The Hemato-Oncology Department’s Research
Week hosted Prof. Eric Bouffet from Toronto,
one of the leading experts in the world on brain
tumors in children
Uri Geller – a regular visitor to Schneider Children’s encouraged children in the Oncology Department to “think
positive thoughts and believe that you will get better!” Geller
bent spoons with the children, chatted with them at eye level,
and delighted not only the youngsters but also families and
staff members alike. The Friends Association is deeply indebted
to Mr. Geller for contributing his honorarium while in Israel to
Schneider Children’s.
About 25% of malignancies in children are brain tumors – a
complex field, where medical achievements still do not match
those of other cancerous diseases. The Oncology Department
is trying to advance the outcome of therapies for brain tumors
by integrating cutting-edge neurosurgery with chemotherapy
treatments, supportive care and rehabilitation, while
simultaneously promoting understanding through research.
“The objective is to open therapeutic avenues that will ultimately
bring about recovery for many more children by minimizing the
chronic side effects of treatment,” said Dr. Isaac Yaniv, Director of
the Hemato-Oncology Department. The prolonged effort recently
found expression during Research Week which included lectures
and the 2nd Pediatric Brain Tumor Symposium. The event attracted
a large audience from the Pediatric Oncology, Neurology, and
Neurosurgery communities in Israel mainly due to the keynote
speaker, Prof. Eric Bouffet. Prof. Bouffet, an expert in pediatric
brain tumors, visited Schneider Children’s within the framework
of the Schwartz-Reisman Visiting Sick Kids Scholarship Program
sponsored by the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada.
Cardiac Surgeon Becomes Part of the Family
Prof. Vidne, a cardiac surgeon who has seen it all, was surprised to
discover that a period of over 20 years differentiated between his
operating on a (future) grandfather and his infant granddaughter.
It was a happy reunion… from the depths of the heart
During his career, Prof. Bernardo Vidne has conducted over 40,000 cardiothoracic
surgeries – so surprising him is no easy matter. Nonetheless, the Director of the
Cardiothoracic Surgery Department at Schneider Children’s was very excited to
discover that the lovely baby that he operated on, Roni Attar, was the granddaughter
of Assaf Attar, on whom he had performed surgery more than 20 years ago. Prof.
Vidne conducted an open-heart operation on baby Roni due to a congenital heart
defect that obstructed the flow of blood to her lungs. Her grandfather, Assaf, had
a valve repaired – “a procedure that was thought dangerous at the time,” recalled Prof. Vidne during the emotional meeting with
grandfather and granddaughter. Now, we can add another title to Israel’s leading cardiac surgeon: “Family Surgeon”.
On The Cutting
Edge Of Medicine
From Scans to Cure
The new gamma camera that was acquired
through a generous contribution from Germany
of more than $200,000 (plus additional assistance
from Clalit Health Services), has upgraded
activities in the Nuclear Medicine Institute at
Schneider Children’s. We spoke with Dr. Zvi
Bar-Sever, Director of the Institute
What is nuclear medicine?
“It involves scanning with radioactive
compounds to diagnose early-stage
disease. Certain substances injected
into the body localize selectively in
organs and tissues thus indicating
levels of disease. The gamma camera
absorbs tiny amounts of radiation
emitted from the body and translates
Dr. Zvi Bar-Sever
it into a computerized image. The way
in which these materials are absorbed by the body shows the
physiological and biochemical function of the organ. Sometimes
this is the only evidence of disease in the body.”
What is the most common scan that you do?
“Bone scans for the identification of infection or trauma to the
skeleton, kidney scans and oncological follow-up for tumor
remains. The high sensitivity of scans is the only way to track
disease processes in bones and organs at these early stages.
Many decisions regarding treatment and surgery are based
upon the results of scans.”
What is so special about the new camera?
“This camera is a ‘hybrid’ that also includes a CT, and enables
a connection between the two examinations. The CT emits
very low radiation and is not an alternative to a standard CT
– although it provides the precise location of pathological
concentrations demonstrated in the scan. We recently
conducted a scan in a child with neuroblastoma. The nuclear
scan showed a suspicious concentration of pharmaceuticals
in the left side of the abdomen. Merging a CT image with the
scan showed that the dramatic concentration which seemingly
indicated a recurrence of the disease, was a rare variation of
the physiological absorption in the brown fatty tissue. Only
through the CT, which provided us with a precise location in
the abdominal cavity, did we know for certain that this was not
a tumor and thus prevented a biopsy and chemotherapy. This
is an excellent example of diagnostic precision that combines
two imaging techniques in one examination.”
Shortly: LCD ceiling “to hold” children
A TV set and DVD are only allowed in the Nuclear Medicine
Institute for therapeutic purposes: with them, young children are
able to remain still until the completion of the examination. As if to
underscore this point, Dr. Bar-Sever initiated the establishment of
an impressive LCD ceiling comprised of several adjacent screens.
Friends of Schneider Children’s has already received a generous
contribution towards this objective, but $10,000 are needed to
complete the project. “We are hoping that another contribution
will make it possible ‘to raise’ the ceiling,” said Dr. Bar-Sever.
Checking Kidneys – With Heart
The multidisciplinary staff in the Nephrology Department includes many doctors, nurses and
paramedical professionals, and treats the child suffering from chronic kidney failure along the long
road to survival and quality of life. From the moment of diagnosis in the Nephrology Clinic, through
dialysis treatments, to a kidney transplant and prolonged follow-up care spanning years – these are
the pediatric nephrology experts who integrate medical excellence, outstanding empathy for their
young patients and an ability to give with their heart and soul
Shahar was 18 months old when she was brought to Schneider
Children’s with kidney dysfunction. Her condition quickly
deteriorated into terminal renal failure and her father offered to
donate a kidney. Attached immediately to a dialysis machine in
the Nephrology Department, doctors feared that the child might
be carrying a genetic mutation which would necessitate excision
of both her kidneys. The results of her blood tests, which were
sent from the Genetic Analysis Center in England, confirmed
suspicions. Soon thereafter, Shahar underwent transplant
surgery: while the first surgical team removed her kidneys and
one kidney from her father, another team transplanted the
organ into the infant’s body. Despite a rare infection which
necessitated intense and precise treatment after the transplant,
she was discharged with a perfectly functioning kidney that has
since been performing well now for more than two years.
This drama is one of many: over 70 children have undergone
kidney transplants in the hospital – each child with his own
story, and each one a world unto himself. The long road back
to a normal life begins in the Nephrology Department, moves
to the Dialysis Unit and reaches a peak with transplantation
and continuing care spanning years and sometimes involving
a second transplant. “A close connection is created with many
of our patients,” says Dr. Miriam Davidovits, Director of the
As a national pediatric referral center, Schneider Children’s
conducts about 95% of kidney transplants in children in Israel.
Numerically speaking, this amounts to about 20 transplants
a year. The percentage of success is high and on a par with
leading centers in the world. Dr. Natan
Bar-Natan, Director of the Pediatric
Kidney Transplantation
knows every patient and family
personally. “Sometimes, the need for
a transplant results from an acquired
and debilitating disease, but other
times the child suddenly becomes
ill – and from a completely healthy
child, parents must face a transplant
in a matter of days. This is definitely a
shock, as is the long wait for a kidney
and when it finally arrives, parents’
joy is mixed with foreboding and
The Dialysis Unit at Schneider
Children’s, the largest in the country
for children, enables young patients to
survive until a suitable kidney is found.
“Dialysis is a critical interim stage
- especially during the long wait for
a donor kidney – without which it is
doubtful if the child would arrive at a
transplant at all,” notes Dr. Davidovits.
Although only a transplant can
dramatically improve quality of life, this
does not transform a sick child into a
healthy child. Transplantation involves
a “Catholic marriage” with the hospital,
requiring prolonged medications
and close follow-up. Prof. Eytan Mor,
Director of the Transplantation Unit
at Schneider Children’s, explains:
“A transplanted kidney has an
average life span of 10-15 years so
that in most cases, our patients are
‘returning customers’. A transplant
can only be deemed a success
about 6 years after the operation.”
Transplantation is a complex
process: Together with Dr. BarNatan, departmental staff is actively
involved in immediate post-surgical
care alongside the transplant team
and personnel from the operating
theater, anesthesiology, intensive
care and other departments, as well
as social workers, dieticians, psychologists, physical therapists and
paramedical teams. The majority of recipients are hospitalized
in Pediatrics C, where the nursing staff bears the responsibility
of the critical post-surgery period requiring medications and
preparation for continuing care upon discharge.
A significant role is played by the transplant coordinator, Rachel
Beregin, who, over and above technicalities, accompanies the
parents providing guidance and support. The prolonged followup, sometimes 10 years or more, is managed by the Nephrology
Department. “We are blessed with a highly professional, wonderful
and caring multidisciplinary team,” says Dr. Davidovits. “Schneider
Children’s has an excellent cadre of specialists from different
disciplines. Our work is so complex and emotionally-charged that
it would be impossible to accomplish without the support of one
another. This is our strength.”
Dr. Davidovits has a professional aspiration of establishing a
research facility and nephrology laboratory as expected of a
national center. The Nephrology Research Laboratory would
be dedicated, inter alia, towards tissue engineering and the
use of stem cells for renal tissue replacement in cases of acute
and chronic renal injury. Findings will constitute a breakthrough
and promote the care of children with end-stage renal failure.
“But dreams come true here as a matter of course,” she says,
recalling the story of a girl, who underwent successful kidney
transplantation a few years ago following years of dialysis
treatments, and recently visited the medical center with her
two children. “Our best reward however is to see children with
a new lease on life,” she concludes. “When we can help a child to
hold on until a transplant, and then see them return to normal
life afterwards, sometimes volunteering in the Israel Defense
Forces or starting a family – this is the greatest satisfaction for
any doctor.”
The Art: Hemodialysis in an Infant
Almost 20% of patients in the Dialysis Institute at Schneider Children’s are babies and infants who weigh less than 15 kgs (33lbs).
“Performing hemodialysis in an infant is a true art due to the size of the blood vessels, unstable blood pressure, and the difficulty
of holding a baby still during the four hours he is connected to a machine and monitor,” says Dr. Davidovits. The medical team is
assisted by an art therapist, a social worker and volunteers who distract the babies and children during their 12-15 hours of weekly
treatments, which are “erased” from their lives.
First of its Kind Vaccination Against Colon Infection
Research data collected by Prof. Shai Ashkenazi has found that the rotavirus leads to at least 4,000
hospitalizations every year and some 15,000 hospitalization days. The good news: now there is a
vaccine already approved in Israel
Summertime is characterized by a seasonal rise in the incidence of infections of the digestive tract, especially those caused by
bacteria such as shigella (dysentery germs) and salmonella (an important cause of food poisoning). Infections are expressed by
recurring diarrhea, which sometimes can consist of blood or mucus, and accompanied by vomiting and fever. The main reason for
hospitalization is dehydration. While the summer season represents a time for increased colon infections, the most common virus
that causes diarrhea in children is in fact gaining ground during winter. This is the rotavirus that - while prevalent throughout the
year - shows a rise in incidence mainly in the cold months. In a research study headed by Prof.
Shai Ashkenazi that took place in 6 Israeli hospitals, it was found that the rotavirus causes
at least 4,000 hospitalizations each year and about 15,000 hospitalization days. Some of the
children also developed complications such as convulsions and blood infections that required
hospitalization in the intensive care unit. Prof. Ashkenazi noted that recently, a vaccine was
approved for use in Israel against the rotavirus that represents the first vaccine of its kind
against colon infections. The vaccine is administered orally three times to an infant from the
age of 6 weeks until 32 weeks.
Inoculation Against Flu
Nasal spray more effective than injections!
International research headed by Prof. Ashkenazi
Pioneering international research headed by Prof. Shai Ashkenazi of Schneider Children’s has
found that flu vaccination via nasal spray is 53% more effective than vaccination via injection.
Prof. Shai Ashkenazi
The study involved 114 medical centers around the world and included 2,187 children between
the ages of six months to six years, who suffered from chronic infections of the airways and
were therefore at higher risk of a contracting severe influenza. The children were divided arbitrarily into two groups, one of which
received vaccinations via injection and the other via nasal spray. Findings revealed that the nasal spray was markedly more effective
in preventing flu and reduced the number of doctor visits as well as kindergarten and school absenteeism. The spray vaccine was
approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States for ages 5-50, but has not yet been registered in Israel. As a
result of the new findings, the FDA is discussing the possibility of approving the vaccine also for smaller children. The research findings
were published in the prestigious Journal of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. Prof. Ashkenazi, an expert in infectious diseases, is the Director
of General Pediatrics A and the head of the Research Unit at Schneider Children’s.
New Gene Discovered that Causes Fatal
Degenerative Disease in Children
Another achievement for Schneider Children’s Genetics Institute
A team of researchers from the Genetics Institute at Schneider Children’s, led by Prof. Motti
Shohat, Dr. Lina Basel and neurologist Dr. Rachel Straussberg, have identified a genetic mutation
causing the debilitating disease called Infantile Bilateral Striatal Necrosis (IBSN). Symptoms of
the rare disease appear only after the age of one year, and are characterized by difficulties in
swallowing, weight loss, impaired development and severe movement disorders. ISBN can lead
to death before the age of 10 and is common mainly among the Bedouin population in Israel.
The gene causing ISBN was unknown until now. According to Dr. Lina Basel, “identification of
the disease-causing gene will enable early and accurate diagnosis of patients, including prenatal women from high risk families. Study of the mechanisms of IBSN will promote better
Dr. Lina Basel
understanding of the degenerative processes in the brain and lead to the development of new
medications in the future for improved treatment of debilitating diseases for which a cure has not been found.”
Huge Advances in
Microscopic Surgery
Dr. Dragan Kravarusic
Laparoscopy at Schneider Children’s has
gained speed – due in large measure to Dr. Dragan Kravarusic,
who recently returned from advanced training in Canada
Over the past decade, more and more operations are being performed
by minimal invasive surgery (laparoscopy) – a method that prevents an
open incision of the abdomen and promotes rapid recovery without
scarring, reduced pain and hospitalization. Schneider Children’s recently
introduced these procedures in children with very low body weight.
For the first time in Israel, the Department of Surgery, headed by Prof.
Naftali Freud, utilized this technique to repair a congenital condition
known as Bochdaleck’s hernia, and reduction of a prolapsed bowel
(intussusception). In addition, laparoscopy has also been introduced to
repair obstruction of the stomach valve (pyloric stenosis). Success is due
in no small measure to Dr. Dragan Kravarusic, who returned to Schneider
Children’s following a two-year fellowship at Calgary Children’s Hospital
in Alberta, Canada, where he advanced his knowledge and skills in
pediatric laparoscopic surgery. “In Calgary, more than half the general
surgeries in children are performed by minimal invasive surgery,
including infants weighing less than 5kgs (11 lbs),” says Dr. Kravarusic.
“Experience has shown that this is the preferred method of surgery by
both medical teams and parents for all types of operations in children.”
Multiple Organ Donation
It is extremely rare to receive organ donation from a
child or adolescent, yet the family of a child who was
fatally wounded gave four children a new lease on
life. The multiple surgeries took place simultaneously
by transplant teams at Schneider Children’s. The heart
was given to a 12-year-old girl who suffered from a
disease of her heart muscle. The liver was given to a
five and-a-half-year old girl, who had been waiting 7
months for a liver transplant. The two kidneys were
transplanted in two boys aged 4 and 6.
Liver recipient and her father
The Journey
From Silence
To Sound
Cochlear Implants
“Today, a deaf child is already a thing of the past”
When a profoundly deaf child becomes a hearing child and
learns to speak, this is a medical, technological and rehabilitative
triumph of the first order. In 2006 alone, 34 hearing-impaired
children underwent Cochlear Implantation (CI) at Schneider
Children’s – and began to hear. “A cochlear implant is one of
the most impressive developments in the field of Otology and
Audiology,” says Dr. Eyal Raveh, Head of the ENT Unit. “Today a
deaf child is already a phenomenon of the past. This is not hocuspocus, but rather a combination of superb technology and two
great teams.” On average, 5 out of every 1,000 children suffer
from some deafness while one or two are born profoundly deaf.
The Audiology Institute, headed by Prof. Joseph Attias, sees about
6,000 children annually, most of whom suffer from intermittent
hearing problems with about 1,000 diagnosed as
hearing impaired requiring intervention. The earlier
the hearing impairment is diagnosed, the greater
the chances of success. Consequently, Schneider
Children’s conducts hearing tests in newborns and
rehabilitation already starts at birth. “The window
of opportunity is open until the age of three years,”
explains Prof. Attias, “otherwise difficulties in balance
and understanding develop. The cochlear implant is
currently performed at the age of a year, which allows
the brain to quickly learn how to detour imprecise
sounds. We teach the deaf child to differentiate
between the electronic impulse and the significance
of the stimulation. In a normal person, there are 1,500
hairs, each one of which is an auditory channel. A child
with a cochlear implant has 20 auditory channels.
In fact, he only hears peripheral sounds and great
emphasis is placed on rehabilitation in order to train
the brain to complete the sounds. In this way, we are
eliminating the deaf-mute from this world: when a
child learns to hear, he also learns to speak.”
About 160 cochlear implants have been performed
thus far at Schneider Children’s. Despite very safe and reliable
technology, each implant is a project and constitutes a ‘Catholic
marriage’ with the clinic, involving prolonged rehabilitation and
follow-up. Technology is advancing rapidly with the future in
miniaturization of the implant, i.e. insertion of the entire implant
without any exterior device. “Eventually, we will be able to
improve programming so that a deaf person will hear with the
quality of a CD” says Prof. Attias. “Afterwards, we will need to ‘train’
the nerve to grow over the implant so that in fact it becomes
part of the body. At the same time, we hope to reach the optimal
combination of an implant together with medication to revive
the remains of hearing or to preserve them. If we find that it
is not possible to repair the nerve, the implant will be placed
directly on the brain stem and bypass the nerve. Perhaps this will
take time, but the vision will be realized.”
Beyond the Implant
The journey from silence to sound involves a long and difficult road for both parents and
child; the older the child, the more complex the rehabilitation process. Adolescents in
particular must deal with a challenging array of conflicts alongside pubertal development.
Common to all is the need for emotional support throughout the intensive and prolonged
aural rehabilitation. In order to promote ultimate success, Schneider Children’s would like to
create support groups – unique in Israel – where CI youngsters can voice their hopes and fears
among same-age peers in the their situation. The only problem is lack of funding resources. A
contribution of $3,000 will sponsor one support group of 12 two-hour sessions.
International Visitors
Ambassadors Galore…
From Japan…
A delegation of leading Japanese sumo wrestlers replete
in traditional garb was conducted under the banner of
"brotherhood and peace".
From Khatimansisk, Siberia…
A delegation of 9 officials from Khatimansisk in Siberia were
particularly impressed with Schneider Children’s computerized
system of medical folders.
Four Ambassadors to Israel visited Schneider Children’s and
joined the growing list of previous Goodwill Ambassadors. From
Egypt…Charismatic Ambassador Mohammed Issaem Ibrahim
declared “what I have seen has exceeded my expectations”;
from Austria… Dr. Kurt Hengl; from Angola… Mr. José João
Manuel; and from Australia… Mr. James Larson.
From Angola…
A delegation of three Angolan physicians discussed
cooperation through the advanced training of physicians and
patient referrals for treatment.
From Brazil…
Luiz André dos Santos Gomez summed up his visit of Schneider
Children’s as “un hospital extraordinario”!
From Australia…
A 20-member group
under the auspices of
Manna International from
Adelaide, Australia, arrived
for their annual visit led
by the indefatigable Colin
From Singapore…
From Moscow…
The Victoria Children’s Foundation sent three representatives to
learn about psychosocial rehabilitation for children.
From Africa…
A special mission came to Israel to study the country’s health
system and the treatment of AIDS from the Ivory Coast and
From Tomsk,
The objective of the Tomsk
delegation was to establish
a fellowship exchange
program in Pediatric
Mrs. Jennifer Yeo,
wife of Singapore’s
George Yeo, who
was in Israel heading
a delegation of their
business people, is
an attorney and a
champion of social
children with cancer.
From Chile…
The Mayor of Padre Las Casas and his party of two visited Schneider
Children’s as part of a study tour of the health network in Israel at
the recommendation of the Israeli Ambassador in Chile.
Friends With Heart
Across The
Support of Schneider Children's crosses borders and continents, connecting
institutions, organizations, businesses and individuals from all corners of the
globe, in a united display from the heart – and within
From the UK
From Italy
Life-Saving Marathon
Sailing with the Torino Community
900 athletes participated in the 30th Tiberias Marathon, but only
for one of them, this was a race to save a life. Daniel Rose ran in
the international event in January in order to raise funds for the
Hematology-Oncology Department at Schneider Children’s, where
his 18-month-old nephew was hospitalized. The child had contracted
Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare type of tumor that attacks the bone and soft
At the initiative of Nora
Bengio, long-time friend
of Dr. Aviva Ron, Executive
Chair of Friends of Schneider
Children’s, a group of 50
of the hospital gathered
together in Torino, Italy, at a unique fundraising event. Under the auspices
of Friends, Mrs. Bengio arranged for a special dinner party aboard a boatrestaurant on the River Po. As it was the Festival of Purim, guests donned
original masks which were all handmade by children hospitalized at
Schneider Children’s and watched the premier of a new movie about the
medical center.
Maestro’s Visit: Bravo!
Daniel Rose and Dr. Yaniv, Director of the Hematology-Oncology
Department at Schneider Children’s
tissue. “I feel helpless and I love sport,” said Daniel, “so running in the
marathon was my way of doing something positive.” Contributions
from his circle of family and friends were donated through Friends of
Schneider Children’s to the Oncology Department.
Israel at 60 Expo
The Association of Friends of Schneider Children’s participated in
the Zionist Federation of Great Britain’s “Israel at 60” Expo that took
place at Wembley on November 11th. Friends was represented by
Coordinator, Ziva Caspi.
A musical visit such as this does not happen
every day: the acclaimed Italian conductor,
Riccardo Muti, visited the HematologyOncology Department at Schneider
Children’s and was the recipient of a short
percussion recital performed by hospitalized
patients in his honor. Maestro Muti, who was
in Israel to conduct the Israel Philharmonic
Orchestra in celebration of the orchestra’s
70th anniversary, was accompanied by his wife and the Contessa
Emanuela di Castelbarco, granddaughter of Conductor Arturo Toscanini.
The Maestro donated his honorarium from the gala concert to the
Hematology-Oncology Department towards an Arabic-speaking social
worker within the framework of the hospital’s “bridge to peace” efforts.
Thank You!
The Spirit of Giving
To our many wonderful donors in Israel and abroad, Friends of Schneider Children’s
would like to express its heartfelt appreciation for your unstinting support and
generous contributions that you have made during the past year. Together, your
donations have surpassed the highest totals reached in all previous years, helping to
fulfill our objectives. We are proud to mention some of the many projects that have
resulted from your generosity which continue to make the difference between “have”
and “have not”. May you be continually blessed. Thank you!!
Would you like to be part of the world
of medical excellence?
• $240,000 towards a Neurosurgical Microscope • France - $170,000 towards
the Emergency Room Expansion • Mexico - $100,000 towards the Cardiac Intensive
Care Unit • Photography exhibition • Art Exhibition • Children’s annual artwork
exhibition supported by Bank Discount for the past four years • $60,000 towards an
ultrasound for the Surgical Suite • United Kingdom - $20,000 towards research
Would you like to support the future
of the children of Israel?
You can do so by contacting Friends of
Schneider Children's at [email protected]
Contributions made in Israel, the United
Kingdom and the United States are all
"We make a living by what we get; We make a life by what we give" (Anon)
From Australia
Dear Friends,
Fundraising throughout the
year has been directed to the
expansion of the Emergency
Room with lifesaving gifts
made to the Cystic Fibrosis Unit
and Pulmonology, Oncology
and the Social Services
Department. My thanks to our
many new friends in Victoria,
New South Wales and Queensland, as well as to the
students at Bialik College, Beth Rivkah Ladies College and
Leibler Yavneh College in Melbourne and Moriah College
in Sydney. Mazeltov to Bnei Mitzvot: Nechama Pilcer, Dalia
Lederberger, Sophie Teperman, Keren Schneeweis, Rachel
Elbaum and Adrian Rich, who all requested donations to
the hospital in lieu of gifts. This year we look forward to
fundraising cooperation with United Israel Appeal Victoria
in order to support sick immigrant children from Ethiopia
and Russia. Wishing you all good health,
Annie Silver
Chair, Melbourne Friends of Schneider Children’s
Batmitzvah Joy
Rachel Elbaum jumps
for joy wearing her
Schneider Children’s
t-shirt in celebration
of her batmitzvah. In
lieu of gifts, Rachel
asked her guests
to make donations
children at Schneider
Children’s. Mazaltov
and many thanks!
“This is Not Only a Gift for You,
But Also for Me”
Einat, 15, from Petach Tikvah met Esther from
Australia who saved her life. Those there will
never forget
This was one of those moments which one can never forget.
Einat Zinger, a 15-year-old girl from Petach Tikvah, whose life
was saved by a bone marrow transplant, met the donor for the
first time - Esther Ciechanowski, from Australia, who was on a
visit to Israel. Einat had been waiting for three years for a bone
marrow transplant since she became ill with cancer. Following a
search in the world registry of potential donors, a suitable donor
was found in Australia about a year ago. “I heard about an Israeli
girl who needed a transplant and I did not hesitate,” said Esther.
“I believe that those who can help others cannot choose not
to do so.” Einat underwent the transplant in the Bone Marrow
Transplantation Unit headed by Dr. Jerry Stein. Her life was saved
by the donation and today she is in follow-up care at Schneider
Children’s. “I am glad that I could help you, Einat – this is a gift not
only for you but also for me,” said Esther to an emotional Einat.
Dr. Stein too had difficulty hiding his feelings. “I am honored
to be at this extraordinary meeting and pay tribute to Esther’s
willingness to respond. I hope that this act will raise awareness
and readiness in many others to join the world registry of bone
marrow donors.”
Bialik College Primary School
On a cold and wintry day, primary school students participated in Pyjama Day (why
bother putting on your school uniform when you can just hop out of bed and come
to school in your favourite pyjamas?), a fun-filled event that served as a fundraiser
for Schneider Children’s. Bialik College’s Primary School has supported the hospital
for the past few years raising both awareness and funds for the Clowns Program and
Emergency Room expansion.
Story Sounds…
The Education Center at Schneider Children’s works under
the auspices of the Ministry of Education and comprises
a team of 20 Jewish and Arab special education teachers
and therapists. Within the framework of their annual
project, they selected to introduce children to literature,
through which children embarked upon a wonderful
and magical voyage on the wings of words, drawings and
imagination. At the start of their journey, children read
or listened to stories. An array of books was selected for
the project from Hebrew bestsellers to universal classics
and popular legends. The resulting imagery prompted
the children to search for both apparent and hidden
meanings as well as within themselves, to struggle
with moral dilemmas, to become acquainted with
styles of coping and different perspectives, to discover
existing and new figures, to feel different emotions and
to express aspirations and hopes. Children were then
asked to present tangible and creative perceptions of
their personal dialogue through various means: writing,
drawing, sculpture, music and computer. During an era
where computers and technology somewhat relegate
the world of books to the corner, we chose to emphasize
their importance while wandering along magical paths
and listening together to the sounds of words.