Israeli doctors reattach Palestinian boy’s head to his neck in life-saving surgery

12-year-old Palestinian Arab boy saved by doctors at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital after he was hit by a car while riding his bicycle.

By World Israel News Staff

The parents of 12-year-old Suleiman Hassan, a Palestinian Arab boy from the Jordan Valley, never imagined that the routine ride on his bicycle near his home would end so dramatically.

The boy, who, like every other day, went out on his bicycle to get some air, was involved in a traffic accident recently and was very seriously injured. Only the emergency surgery he underwent at Hadassah Ein Kerem saved his life, the medical center said in a press release.

After being struck by a car, Hassan was airlifted to the trauma unit at Hadassah Ein Kerem, when it was clear to rescue forces in the area that his life was in danger due to his critical injury and damage to the connection between his head and neck, the hospital explained.

Dr. Ohad Einav, a specialist from the orthopedic department at Hadassah Ein Kerem who operated on the child together with Dr. Ziv Asa, said, “The most significant and main injury suffered by the boy was a fracture in the connection between the head and neck, along with a tear of all the ligaments. Additionally, there was a superficial injury to the abdomen. Due to the serious injury, the head almost completely detached from the base of the neck.

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“After a thorough examination of his condition, we decided to perform surgery during which we attached the head to the neck,” Dr. Einav said.

“We fought for the boy’s life, a large operating room team, including operating room nurses and anesthesiologists, followed by the intensive care and surgical department team.”

He further explained: “This is a rare and unusual case with a 50% chance of mortality. The procedure itself is very complicated and took several hours, while in the operating room we used new plates and fixations in the damaged area. It was precisely because of such cases that I chose to specialize in trauma.

“Our ability to save the child thanks to the most innovative knowledge and technology in the operating room is immensely satisfying. That’s the goal of all of us in the trauma complex.

“Fortunately, the operation was a great success and we saved the boy’s life. He was discharged home with a cervical splint and, of course, under the dedicated medical care and monitoring of the hospital staff and myself.”

Suleiman’s father, who did not leave his son’s bedside during his days of hospitalization and recovery from the surgery, thanked the surgeons and other staff members who helped save his son’s life, according to Hadassah staff.

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“I will thank you all my life for saving my dear only son. Bless you all, 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.”