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Wednesday, February 23, 2011
(With video) EMERGENCY BRAIN SURGERY AT ISRAELI HOSPITAL SAVES GAZA TODDLER

Watch Wallah’s recovery on You Tube:
http://www.youtube.com/user/rambamhospital#p/u/6/fUaU7cVfE0Q

Haifa, 23 February 2011
Rambam Health Care Campus
Tel. 972-4-8542657 Fax. 972-4-8542718
E-mail: d_ratner@rambam.health.gov.il www.rambam.org.il

SAVING WALLAH: EMERGENCY BRAIN SURGERY SAVES GAZA TODDLER

A month and a half ago, two-year old Wallah Omar arrived at Rambam Health
Care Campus from Gaza City, listless, apathetic and completely paralyzed on
her left side. Her condition was rapidly deteriorating, explained her
distraught father, Ayad Hamis Omar.

Wallah had been diagnosed in the Gaza hospital as having a large tumor that
was pressing on her brain. The growth had to be removed, but her parents
were hesitant about performing the surgery in the small local hospital. On
the advice of her oncologist, Walla’s parents opted for what the doctor
termed “the first hospital on his list,” Rambam. According to the child’s
father, Ayad, the oncologist had likened medical care in Israel with that in
the United States. “He told me, ‘Once your daughter will be in Rambam,
everything will be fine, and your family can rest assured,’ ” said Ayad.

Having decided that their daughter must get to Israel, Wallah’s parents
obtained a letter of request from their local hospital and sent it to
Rambam. Without hesitating, Director of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology,
Prof Myriam Ben Arush, replied: Transfer Wallah to Rambam at once. Upon her
arrival at Rambam, the child had an MRI scan, which showed that the tumor
had reached the size of a large orange. Director of the Pediatric
Neurosurgery Unit, Dr Joseph Guilburd operated immediately, removing the
entire growth.

Shortly after surgery, Wallah went home to Gaza for a week, and then
returned to Rambam for a series of 30 radiation sessions, under the watchful
eye of Rambam oncologist Dr Sergey Postovsky. Now a month at the hospital,
she has finished the bulk of the treatments, which will be completed within
a week.

“She is recovering amazingly. She is perfect, laughing and playing,” says
her relieved father, who adds that his daughter looks forward to seeing her
sister, Dua, five, and brother, Ahmad, seven months old.

“I feel at home at Rambam,” continues Ayad, who used to work in an events
hall in Ness Ziona, and is frequently visited at the hospital by friends,
Arab and Jewish. “I like to see the way people live and work together here.
The care we received at Rambam saved my daughter’s life. ”

Wallah’s story began four months ago, when she started vomiting. Her family
doctor thought she had a stomach virus, which her family treated with common
home remedies. The vomiting continued, and her situation was compounded by
neurological problems: she was unable to move her fingers or even hold her
spoon.

Today, according to Wallah’s surgeon, Dr Guilburd, the girl’s chances for
full recovery are very good. "To see a child who recovers so beautifully is
a physician's greatest satisfaction," he says.

The Children's Hospital at Rambam provides treatment in oncology,
nephrology, orthopedics, cardiology, and neurosurgery to seven hundred
children from throughout the Palestinian Authority annually. In past half
year Rambam has treated 200 adults and children from Gaza alone, twice the
number treated during the same period last year. Of these, 25 have been
pediatric oncology cases. Says Prof Ben Arush, "Our department is really a
microcosm of an ideal world: Jewish, Christian and Muslim children from all
countries receive the best possible care."

Watch Wallah’s recovery on You Tube:
http://www.youtube.com/user/rambamhospital#p/u/6/fUaU7cVfE0Q

# # #

Photographs are available upon request from RHCC Asst. Spokesperson Dganit
Kenig at 04-8542718, 050-2063363 and d_kenig@rambam.health.gov.il.

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