The Health Industry is constantly on the move with exciting new research, technologies and techniques.
Israel has always been at the forefront of these groundbreaking discoveries. As part of a 3 part series, we will look back at some of the amazing medical feats that Israel has pioneered.
#1 Surgery in the womb
February 6, 2016
At Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem, doctors performed an exceptional medical procedure on a fetus – while still in his mother’s womb.
It all began 6 months ago, when Limor was 20 weeks pregnant. During a routine test, the doctors told her that her baby had a very rare problem. The doctors recommended that she end the pregnancy. The fetus had a hernia in his diaphragm which could impact the development of his lungs. As you can see, Joseph Haim’s story has a happy ending. This was not always clear.
“Usually with this type of defect, the baby’s lungs are very small,” explains Dr. Gialchinsky, a prenatal specialist in Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital. “The baby will have great difficulty breathing after we cut the umbilical cord. It is impossible to give them respiration. They usually die within minutes after birth.” Limor and Nir refused to have an abortion on religious grounds.
Luckily, their Rabbi recommended they see Dr. Gialchinsky, who repairs natal defects with an instrument called the “fetoscope” which has a tiny camera on its edge. “Through the stomach’s wall you enter the womb,” he explains. “There is a small light at the end. So, you can see what is happening inside the uterus.” These films are straight from the womb, not images like an ultrasound. This is Joseph Haim 4 months before he was born. “There are another 3 tubes, through which you can insert other instruments like needles,” says the doctor.
Dr. Gialchinsky carefully inserts the fetoscope into the fetus’ mouth. He leaves a small balloon in his trachea which will neutralize the defect in the diaphragm allowing the lungs to develop. “In order to prevent any pain or the fetus moving,” adds Dr. Gialchinsky, “We inject a pain killer into his muscle or leg.”
After we see that the lungs have developed, the balloon must be removed. Once again, the fetoscope goes into the fetus’ mouth, the balloon is destroyed and Dr. Gialchinsky removes all remnants with tiny tweezers. Dr. Gialchinsky is the only doctor in Israel who knows how to perform this procedure after studying two years in London. There are only 30 doctors in the world who know how to do this.
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