Limor was 20 weeks pregnant when after 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 the baby’s lungs. Limor and Nir refused to have an abortion on religious grounds.
Luckily, their Rabbi recommended they see Dr. Gialchinsky, a prenatal specialist in Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital. This specialist surgeon repairs natal defects with an instrument called the “fetoscope” which has a tiny camera on its edge to see what’s going on in the uterus.
“Usually with this type of defect, the baby’s lungs are very small. 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,” Dr. Gialchinsky explains.
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. After he sees 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.
“In order to prevent any pain or the fetus moving,” adds Dr. Gialchinsky, “We inject a pain killer into the baby’s muscle or leg.”
Dr. Gialchinsky is the only doctor in Israel who knows how to perform this procedure. There are only 30 doctors in the world who know how to do this.