3-year-old Child Being Flown to the U.S. for Liver Transplant Operation

The Health Ministry will fly three-year-old Meir Zorea of Migdal Haemek to the U.S. today for an urgently needed liver transplant operation which hopefully, will save his life.

Health Minister Mordechai Gur ordered the Ministry last Friday to arrange the flight and pay all expenses after the child’s family was unable to raise $150,000 needed for the trip and surgery. Gur acted under mounting public and political pressure from Knesset members when doctors warned that the gravely ill youngster could die any day.

Leading Israeli doctors insist the liver transplant can be successfully performed in Israel but is not, because of budgetary constraints on the Health Ministry. The child was born with a malfunctioning liver and has spent most of his three years in hospitals. Recently his condition worsened. Fund-raising efforts by family and friends produced $25,000 but the public campaign picked up momentum when the case was widely publicized last Thursday.

Several Knesset members said they would personally collect public donations and hand them over to the Health Ministry. Histadrut’s sick-fund, Kupat Holim, said it would cover half the cost of the boy’s mother’s flight to the U.S. and would contribute $160 per day toward the medical treatment.

Dr. Amram Ayalon of the Hadassah Medical Center here said the operation could be performed in Jerusalem if a donor was available and certain devices were purchased, but it would take three months to prepare teams for the surgery. He said that the techniques of procedure have already been learned by Hadassah medical staff and the operation, if performed here, would cost about a tenth of what it costs in the U.S.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has given a commitment to an American hospital, reportedly one in Pittsburgh, to cover all costs for Meir Zorea.

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