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Project Spotlight: MRI Machine for Hillel Yaffe Hospital

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One Friday night this past winter, Gadi Ben-Yitzchak, head MRI technician at Hillel Yaffe Hospital, got a call from the emergency room. As an observant Jew, Gadi would not normally answer the phone during Sabbath. But a call from the ER often means a life-or-death situation, so Jewish law declares that Gadi must answer the call.

A woman in her ninth month of pregnancy had arrived at the ER earlier that night with unbearable pain in the area of her appendix. Knowing the dangers associated with operating on a woman in late-term pregnancy, the surgeons found themselves in a dilemma. If the patient indeed had appendicitis, not operating could be deadly for both mother and child. But if the woman’s abdominal pain was not caused by appendicitis, then performing surgery would put her and her unborn baby at grave risk for no reason.

Upon receiving the phone call, Gadi left his wife and kids at the Sabbath dinner table and rushed to the hospital. “As I approached the MRI department, the woman was already waiting and prepped for surgery.” Within minutes, Gadi concluded that she did not have appendicitis and that the life-threating surgical procedure would be unnecessary. And this was only revealed by the MRI the patient received upon Gadi’s arrival to the hospital – using the MRI machine The Fellowship donated to the medical facility.

“The entire hospital staff is grateful for the MRI machine that The Fellowship donated,” Gadi explained. “We very possibly saved a woman and her baby’s life that night because of it.”

Shortening the Diagnosis Time

Hillel Yaffe’s Dr. Shreter sat with me in their MRI Unit and explained some of the difficulties the hospital encountered before The Fellowship donated this life-saving machine last December. Hillel Yaffe serves a population of 450,000 Israelis. Twenty-five percent of car accident victims in Israel are treated in the hospital’s emergency room, which receives more than 90 trauma victims each day, including IDF soldiers critically injured while training. During times of conflict, Hillel Yaffe serves victims of war, though even during times of relative peace, they treat numerous terror victims.

Before receiving the Fellowship-donated MRI machine, Hillel Yaffe would send trauma patients to other Israeli hospitals, accompanied by a surgeon. At times, the drive could take two to three hours. This situation was unsustainable, as they were “sadly losing many patients on the way to MRI exams in other hospitals,” Dr. Shreter explained.

Gadi and Dr. Shreter have seen the new MRI machine save lives. Gadi recalled an 8-year-old girl whose father brought her to the emergency room a few weeks back. “The girl was complaining about migraine headaches for weeks, and the parents assumed it would pass,” Gadi said. But that morning, the pain was unbearable, and so the father reluctantly brought his daughter to Hillel Yaffe Hospital.

By Israeli law, children cannot undergo CT scans, due to their heavy radioactive emissions, so the ER sent the girl and to the MRI Unit. “As soon as we got her into the machine I saw she had a growth in her brain,” Gadi recalled. “We notified the father immediately, and she was sent to the neurological surgery department for immediate care. We saved her life, thanks to The Fellowship.”

Grateful for the Lifesaving Gift

Hillel Yaffe’s Fellowship-donated MRI machine treats between 10 and 25 patients a day, including many IDF paratroopers injured in nearby parachuting accidents. Many lives have been saved because of The Fellowship’s donation to the hospital, and countless others will be saved in the future.

Escorting me back to my car, Dr. Shreter shook my hand and thanked The Fellowship. “The MRI machine helps us doctors provide much better and more efficient care for our patients, enabling us to make more informed medical decisions. The Fellowship is saving lives on a near daily basis, and so the doctors, nurses, and patients at Hillel Yaffe are extremely grateful for this amazing life-saving gift you have given us!”

Tags: Stories , IFCJ

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