Rockets fired from the Gaza Strip are a daily fact of life for the communities of southern Israel. Yet in the midst of the tension, four very sick pediatric nephrology patients from Gaza are receiving treatment in northern Israel.
Mohamed and Hadeel (both 12), Hadeel’s brother Ahmad (15) and six-month-old Lian all suffer from kidney insufficiency and have been hospitalized for several months at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.
They have been receiving lifesaving therapy while awaiting kidney transplants.
Mahdi Tarabia, head nurse of the Pediatric Nephrology Unit, explained that the treatment they need, peritoneal dialysis, is not available in the West Bank and Gaza, so medical authorities from these areas cooperate with Rambam to save children’s lives.
“The hemodialysis treatment that these children were given before their arrival at Rambam was associated with medical complications, resulting in a worsening of their condition and many hospitalizations,” he explained.
As opposed to hemodiaysis, where the blood is cleansed via an artificial kidney over the course of several hours a few times per week, in peritoneal dialysis the treatment is given through the abdomen overnight, not interfering with the child’s daytime activities.
Each of the young patients’ families has been trained by Rambam’s staff to administer peritoneal dialysis.
The families received the equipment required for this treatment, and the solution used with it, from Teva Pharmaceuticals. The company will arrange to have supplies conveyed through the Erez checkpoint at the border of Israel and Gaza.
The three schoolchildren are soon due to be sent home, while the recently arrived baby still needs time to be stabilized.