Jerusalem will soon have two medical centers where invasive neurological-neurosurgical- neuroradiological procedures including treatment of strokes will be available. Shaare Zedek Medical Center is opening an invasive stroke treatment unit to be headed by neurology and intensive care specialist Dr. Roni Eichel, who will move over from the capital’s Hadassah-University Medical Center in Ein Kerem, where he was a founder of its stroke unit.
The new facility will be run as part of SZMC’s neurology department, directed by Prof. Isabelle Lubetzky, and will offer brain catheterizations to try to prevent a stroke from causing major and irreversible damage. The intention is to expand it to an active neurosurgery facility that until now existed in Jerusalem only at Hadassah.
Eichel will be joined by Prof. Natan Bornstein, a senior neurologist at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, who will be director and coordinator of the whole neurological-neurosurgical- neuroradiological service at SZMC.
Some 15,000 Israelis suffer strokes in an average year, of them 2,000 in the capital and its environs.
Only a small percentage of them get the maximum treatment in real time (within the “golden hour” that is most likely to be successful), because many patients have a wait-andsee attitude to their initial symptoms.
In addition, the location of the hospital is critical in determining whether treatment will be given during the “golden hour.”
Precious minutes can pass if an ambulance has to race to Ein Kerem rather than to SZMC opposite Mount Herzl, SZMC said on Wednesday.
Eichel said that his unit’s motto will be “faster, faster, faster” in the event of a stroke. “Every minute that passes without treatment [by clot-busting drugs] means the dying of two million brain cells.” SZMC said it is training its neurology staff to give especially speedy service to stroke victims who arrive at its emergency room.
Drugs have to be given within four-and-a-half hours of a stroke. Brain catheterization can be performed within six to eight hours, said Eichel, who was born in Romania in 1972 and raised in Germany, then moved to Israel in 1997 and married an Israeli.