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Liver Transplant a Year Away

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Liver transplant operations in Israel are at least a year away, as the Health Ministry has said that none of the three hospitals vying for the necessary license to perform such operations is capable of doing so.

The three medical centers — Rambam in Haifa, Beilinson in Petah Tikva and Hadassah in Jerusalem — are contesting this ruling and each is putting forward its own virtues to indicate it is ready to start operating immediately on the some 20 Israelis now in urgent need of liver transplants and now trying to raise the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed for the life-saving operation abroad. The hospitals say that a specially-appointed committee has erred in its assessment of their capabilities.

Rambam Hospital said it should be allowed to begin operations because its Dr. Yigal Kam is widely recognized as Israel’s pre-eminent expert in liver transplantation, having trained at Pittsburgh’s University Presbyterian Hospital, where he has carried out a number of transplants.

The Histadrut’s Beilinson Hospital points to its great experience in carrying out kidney transplants and to its central location in the middle of the country.

Hadassah’s Ein Kerem is considered to have the best facilities and was chosen by the Health Ministry last month as the sole Israeli hospital for heart transplants.

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