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Young Israeli Victim of Dystonia Aided by Two Egyptian Doctors

Eli Samet. 15, an Orthodox Jew from Holon, Israel, was discharged today from St. Barnabas Hospital for chronic diseases in The Bronx, after successful surgery for dystonia by an operating team that included two Egyptian neurosurgeons. Doctors describe dystonia as similar to Parkinson’s disease. Eli, described as an excellent student who aspires to be a physician, arrived in New York on July 30 in search of a cure and on Aug. 10 entered Albert Einstein Hospital here. He came to the attention of Dr. Stanley Mandell, who is on the staff of both Einstein and St. Barnabas. At St. Barnabas, Dr. Mandell is an associate of Dr. Irving S. Cooper, the pioneer cryosurgeon who developed the operation for dystonia and other neurological disorders. Dr. Mandell recommended that E11 be transferred to St. Barnabas. He introduced the case to Dr. Cooper who volunteered his own services and those of his staff, including two Egyptian neurosurgical fellows, Drs. Ismael Amin of Cairo, and H.N. Hashem of Alexandria. Eli was admitted to St. Barnabas on Aug. 17 and was operated on three days later.

Physicians have termed the result “very good,” saying the two-hour operation on the right side of the brain “totally relieved” the symptoms on the left side of the body. In about six months, according to the hospital, Eli will come back for a repeat of the operation, this time on the left side of the brain, and for completion of the surgical cure. In April, 1967, he was first beset by the rigidity and tremors of dystonia, which became increasingly violent, leading to total incapacitation by the time he was brought to this country seeking help. Eli’s parents are here with him and have been overwhelmed by the kindness and friendship they have encountered. His father, a civil service clerk, said, “I am a religious man, so I not only hope Eli will be well, but I have faith it will turn out so.” He added, “How can we ever thank all these fine people–the hospital. Dr. Cooper and, of course, my good friends, Dr. Amin and Dr. Hashem.”

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