Six-year-old K, a Syrian boy, arrived in Israel on a stretcher with severe swelling of his brain, comatose and almost dead. He recently left the Northern Israel hospital on his own two feet.
K’s story is just one of many Syrian patients – who are caught in the crossfire of civil war in their country – who come to Israel for medical care.
“When the child came to Rambam he was comatose and almost dead,” says Dr. Sergey Abeshaus, a Senior Neurosurgeon at Rambam who performed surgery on K. “I remember I met with ‘K’s’ father before surgery and he said to us, ‘Do all you can to save him, he is all I have left.’”
A month and a half ago, a devastating explosion destroyed K’s Syrian home and killed his mother and sister upon impact. K and his father survived while his brother died en route to the Israeli border.
The force of the explosion had caused severe swelling of K’s brain, leading to severe intracranial pressure. Doctors had to remove parts of his skull bone to make room for K’s swollen brain and allow it to heal. K then underwent more surgeries to reattach the bones in his skull.
“As the only Level 1 trauma center for Northern Israel, and one of the largest hospitals in the country, Rambam has a lot of experience dealing with these types of injuries,” Dr. Abeshaus says. “Unfortunately we treat a lot of children with head injuries as the result of traumatic accidents such as falling from great heights. In this case, we used our experience to save a little boy who came from a war zone when he was hovering between life and death. Like all the families of the children we treat, we parted from K’s father as good friends. Eventually we did exactly as he had asked—we did all we could do to save K. We hope he has a very long and happy life.”