Abigail Klein Leichman
July 6, 2023

A 12-year-old Palestinian Arab boy’s head was internally severed from his neck after he was hit by a car while cycling last month. 

An injury of this type is almost always fatal. Yet Suleiman Hassan was discharged from Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center this week, his life saved by complicated emergency surgery followed by intensive care.

Orthopedic surgeons Dr. Ohad Einav and Dr. Ziv Asa explained that the worst of Suleiman’s injuries from the crash was a fracture in the internal connection between his head and neck, along with tearing of all the supporting ligaments. 

“Due to the serious injury, the head almost completely detached from the base of the neck,” Einav said.

The child was airlifted to the medical center from the Jordan Valley. Doctors estimated his chances of survival were 50-50.

In a surgical procedure lasting several hours, Einav and Asa repaired the area using “new plates and fixations,” Einav said. “Our ability to save the child was thanks to our knowledge and the most innovative technology in the operating room.” 

Suleiman went home wearing a cervical splint to aid his full recovery. Einav noted that the child suffers no neurological deficits or sensory or motor dysfunction.

“Bless you all,” said Suleiman’s father to the medical staff as they left the hospital. “I will thank you all my life for saving my dear only son. Thanks to you he regained his life even when the odds were low and the danger was obvious. What saved him were professionalism, technology, and quick decision-making by the trauma and orthopedics team. All I can say is a big thank you.”

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