Shaare Zedek Doctors Save Nun from Paralysis

Receiving letters of thanks and appreciation isn’t a rare occurrence within the Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, but it’s not every day that the message comes all the way from Rome!

That’s just what occurred after doctors in the hospital’s Helmsley Brain Center removed a tumour from the brain of Silkovitzka Milgozheta, a Nun living in East Jerusalem, who came to the hospital in serious danger of being fully paralyzed. As a result of emergency surgical intervention, she is now again fully active.

Milgozheta recalls how about two years ago she noticed the outbreak of a rash over much of her body. She didn’t think it was anything overly serious but soon thereafter began experiencing uncontrollable shaking in her right hand. Overtime, the shaking only got worse, significantly impacting her functioning and preventing her from her daily activities in the Monastery, as well as basic personal needs like dressing herself.

After searching all over Israel for a doctor who could help her, she found Dr. Adel Misk, a Senior Neurologist at Shaare Zedek Medical Center. Dr. Misk says Milgozheta presented with a very serious tremor which suggested that she was suffering from one of two major medical problems that would require immediate intervention: Advanced Parkinson’s Disease, or a life-threatening tumour.
Dr. Misk ordered a series of tests to determine the source of the tremor including neurological scans, and an MRI revealed a tumour of about four centimeters that was located in the area of the brain that controls mobility, thus threatening paralysis in the extremities.

She was then referred for surgery in the hospital’s Department of Neurosurgery, where she met with Dr. Nevo Margalit, Director of Neurosurgery at Shaare Zedek. She explained how the condition had taken over her life and how for more than a year she had been unable to write or perform many other basic functions.

Dr. Margalit says, “the patient came to us with a serious meningioma-like tumour. In general, these growths develop slowly and surgical intervention is not immediately required. However, in her case, the placement of the tumour presented a major challenge as it was sitting right on the motor cortex. These types of surgeries come with a serious risk that the patient will be left with significant weakening in their limbs or even paralysis. We saw that her functioning was quickly deteriorating and that in just a period of days her hand had become almost completely paralyzed.”

The challenges didn’t end there, as Dr. Marlagit recalls, “on the day scheduled for the surgery, the patient tested positive for Corona. Our general protocol is that we don’t perform surgeries on patients until they have fully recovered from COVID-19 out of concern of infection. However in this case the tumour represented an even greater danger and I insisted that we proceed with the surgery immediately. After consulting with multiple departments and doctors, we went ahead with the operation. Within just weeks of the surgery and ongoing rehabilitation therapies, the hand had returned to full functioning. We’re thankful that we made the right decision to go ahead despite the Corona diagnosis and are very pleased with the positive result.”

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