Prof. Petachia Reissman, head of the Surgical Wing at Shaare Zedek Medical Center (SZMC), demonstrated a rare operation to correct a bowel resection with fistulas in a patient suffering from Crohn’s disease in a live intercontinental broadcast to an audience of over 3,000 senior surgeons around the world. The conference was transmitted over the internet to more than 10,000 viewers.
SZMC hosted a national science conference concerning the substantial increase in the number of patients suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) in Israel. The conference dealt primarily with research of IBD – Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis – and discussed strategies for treating these illnesses.
Four senior physicians from SZMC took part in an IDF mission to help victims of the typhoon that struck Haiti: Dr. Ofer Merin, VP of medicine at SZMC, Dr. Giora Hanan Weiser, a specialist in pediatric emergency medicine, Dr. Sefi Mendelowic from the Pediatric Wing and Dr. Avi Alpert from the Department of Emergency Medicine were part of the field hospital which helped many of those injured in the disaster.
SZMC celebrated the 20,000th birth of 2013, an unprecedented figure. The hospital is experiencing a developmental boom and the number of births has tripled over the last decade. Following the merger with Bikur Cholim in the previous year, SZMC has the highest number of deliveries in the country, and possibly in the world.
Heavy snowfall in Jerusalem. Hospital staff worked day and night throughout the storm to provide treatment for the sick and injured. During the storm, the hospital was functioning at full capacity and, in addition, saw an increase of 30% in the number of visits to the ER and delivery room. Doctors, nurses and other hospital workers came to work by any means possible – SUVs, special rides organized by the hospital and even on foot. They worked 12 hour shifts, and sometimes even longer, to fill in for colleagues who could not reach the hospital and to address the increase in activity resulting from the weather conditions.
The installation of the new PET/CT unit, among the most advanced in the world, was completed. The unit joins two new MRI machines installed over the past two years. This advanced equipment places SZMC among the leading centers in the field, in Israel and around the world. A significant issue for many patients is the shortened waiting time for results. In addition, the wide girth of the machine and its comfortable bed help reduce the fears that usually accompany this examination.
Hadassah Medical Center experienced a severe economic and managerial crisis, and the hospital made special arrangements to treat the many people who turned to SZMC seeking medical attention in its wake. Shaare Zedek is the largest hospital in Jerusalem and treats over 80,000 inpatients every year and over half a million ambulatory patients. The Department of Emergency Medicine receives over 120,000 visits each year. Following the Hadassah crisis the number of patients increased by more than 30% and the hospital had to augment its staff to handle the influx. “We work tirelessly to help all those seeking treatment, as is our duty”, said SZMC CEO Prof. Jonathan Halevy. “We are waiting for the crisis at Hadassah to be resolved, but as long as there is a decrease in their activity, we will do our best to meet the medical needs of the city’s residents”.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu successfully underwent a routine gastro examination at SZMC, one performed every few years. The examination was conducted by Prof. Eran Goldin, head of the Department of Gastroenterology.
Following an extended study, a multi-national team of researchers, headed by Prof. Ephrat Levy-Lahad, discovered a genetic defect which occurs with higher frequency among people of Georgian origin and is responsible for the auto-immune disease PAN in this population. The disease is characterized by high fever and a rash, damage to the internal organs and, in extreme cases, can be fatal. As a result of this research, a genetic test for the mutation is now available, as well as medicinal treatment and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis for fetuses whose parents are carriers.
An impressive inaugural ceremony marked the opening of the largest and most advanced Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Israel, the new maternity ward and new nursery, all part of the Next Generation Building. The NICU has 70 stations with the most advanced equipment, the highest level of sterility, with the option to isolate each room should the need arise, and superior control systems for maximum safety. The new maternity ward implements all the knowledge accumulated in the Obstetrics Department and offers improved conditions for both mother and child, the possibility of rooming-in, unique breastfeeding rooms, expansive waiting areas, a luxurious dining room and family rooms, all designed to meet the highest standards. The medical staff is also enjoying the advanced work environment and the new equipment.
New hope for thousands of people suffering from Hepatitis C: a revolutionary mixture of drugs that cures the disease within 3 months with virtually no side effects is expected to be available in the USA and Israel within the next year. The new treatment is the result of a comprehensive study led by Dr. Yoav Lurie, head of the Liver Unit, over the last three years at SZMC and 49 additional hospitals throughout the world. “This breakthrough in medicinal treatment is on par with such feats as the discovery of penicillin. The treatment completely cures those afflicted with the disease, which was until now considered to be chronic”, says Dr. Lurie.
News for pregnant women: SZMC offers the CMA text (Chromosomal Microarray Analysis) without extra charge for pregnant women who undergo amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling. The CMA test replaces the traditional microscope analysis and enables the identification of many problems which were not detectable in the past. The test is offered in a small number of hospitals and costs several thousand NIS, but is now available at SZMC without extra charge.
The Local Planning and Building Committee approved a plan to expand the hospital. This plan will double the area of the medical center – from 11 acres to 20 acres – and triple the building rights – from about 100,000 square meters to around 283,000 square meters, not including parking spaces.
“In recent years, SZMC has become the largest hospital in Jerusalem, with approximately 1000 beds. The hospital treats more than 640,000 people, among these 130,000 emergency treatments and 21,000 births. In addition, the hospital trains the next generation of doctors and nurses, performs an ever-increasing amount of research and provides a variety of services to other hospitals”, says Prof. Jonathan Halevy, hospital CEO.
SZMC celebrated the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the Cardiac Rehabilitation and Prevention Institute, the largest of its kind in Jerusalem and the only one in the city which is integrated within a hospital framework. The event was attended by 300 people, including present and past staff members alongside “institute graduates” who underwent rehabilitation in the institute. Heart diseases are the primary cause of mortality in Israel across all population groups and institutes such as this one at SZMC play a key role in the battle to reduce the number of people afflicted with heart diseases and improve the condition of those already suffering from them.
A specialized unit for the disinfection and packaging of sterile supplies for the operating rooms opened at SZMC. The unit is state of the art, fully computerized and spread over 960 square meters in three isolated sites in order to prevent contamination and error.
Over the last few years, SZMC has become one of the largest surgical centers in the country and its operating rooms are among the most advanced in the world. Sterilizing the equipment is a key element. The new unit operates as an automated production line, fully supervised by a computer. The three sites are completely separate from each other. The first receives the dirty equipment, processes it and washes it, the second site sterilizes and sorts the equipment and the third site packs, stores and disperses it to the operating rooms as required.
The Sterile Supply Unit at SZMC prepares 18,000 OR kits and 32,000 sterile sets for the delivery rooms every year, in addition to trays for the catheterization room, respiratory equipment and more.
SZMC acquired a special robot for spinal operations – a breakthrough device in the field of spinal surgery – as part of the expansion of the Orthopedics Department. In addition, the department welcomed two new physicians – Dr. Yair Barzilay, one of the doctors to spearhead the new system, as head of the Spine Unit, and Dr. Harel Arzi, an expert in the treatment of scoliosis. They join Dr. Alex Popov, an expert in minimally invasive back surgeries.
For the first time in Israel a new type of stent to treat aneurisms in the aorta was implanted in a patient. The procedure was performed on three patients at SZMC by Dr. Ilya Goldin, head of the Vascular Surgery Unit, and his team. The procedure was first performed in the USA in January 2014.
SZMC and Lev Academic Center (Tal Institute), which offers an academic nursing program, signed a cooperation agreement. Until now, the nursing training program at SZMC was spread over two and a half years and granted a diploma. Following this agreement, the program will be expanded into a four-year academic degree program and the graduates will receive a BSN from the Tal Institute. “The SZMC Nursing School offered until now only a diploma program”, says Tamar Glatt, head of the school. “This allowed our graduates to start working sooner as registered nurses. Approximately 90% of alumni later completed an academic degree in nursing. Recently the Israeli Council for Higher Education decided to cancel the diploma program. We have chosen to partner with Tal Institute, whose character fits with that of SZMC”.
The Oncological Institute at SZMC celebrated 20 years of activity with a conference entitled “Innovation with a Personal Touch”. Leading experts from Israel and around the world presented the latest developments in cancer treatment to an audience of doctors, nurses and the general public.
Groundbreaking research conducted at SZMC and published in PNAS recommended that every woman of Ashkenazi origin undergo genetic testing for the presence of the BRCA gene mutation. The research, conducted by Prof. Ephrat Levy-Lahad, head of the Genetics Department at SZMC, and in collaboration with Sheba Medical Center and Terem Emergency Medical Centers, investigated the chances of the gene mutations BRCA1 and BRCA2 occurring in the general population of women of Ashkenazi origin. The researchers unequivocally recommend that every woman of Ashkenazi origin be tested for the common mutations of these genes even if there is no history of breast cancer in the family and they do not exhibit signs of illness: a reversal of current medical recommendations on the subject.
Senior researchers from the USA and SZMC participated in the 2nd Annual Breast Cancer Symposium, held at SZMC. The symposium was dedicated to prevention and early detection of breast cancer – from genetic testing to treatment. The speakers presented different scientific approaches, new research about early detection and standard and future treatments.
The hospital welcomed many new staff members – doctors, nurses and administrative staff. Congratulations to the new department heads:
Prof. Francis Mimouni, head of the Neonatal Department
Prof. Giora Weisz, head of the Cardiology Department
Dr. Arik Wolak, Head of the Cardiac Imaging Unit
Dr. Philip Levin, head of the General Intensive Care Unit
Prof. Hananel Holzer, head of the Fertility and IVF Department at SZ and Bikur Cholim
Dr. Eyal Shteyer, head of the Pediatric Hepatology Unit